Edward Hopper 1882 – 1967. Transformations of the Real. By Rolf Gunter Renner ( in our Ganges library)
A couple stop in a late night diner; we are aware of the reality of the moment, of the isolation of individuals in society, even in this case between the two at the counter. This is a painting from another era, but the theme is universal and versions of this image can be found in many photographer's portfolios. In fact 'alienation' as an idea came to be recognized through the Arts ( including writing and music) long before it finally appeared in the images of photographers today.
Beside thematic content, we can also look closely at individual Hopper paintings and learn much about making photographs. His interest in the play of light, how it delineates the scene and sets the mood, and in this 'Diner' image how the space around the central characters is so important to his idea. Imagine cropping this down closely to the central three people: a lot less lonely, less isolating and less effective.
'Bridge in Paris', painted in 1906, could be a modern photograph with its interest in colour and tone and in using closely confined, almost abstract forms to express a larger idea.
If we take time to browse through this artist’s images we see that his imagery may change but the theme is always present. That is what gives his work such cohesiveness, such believability. When a photographer does the same, instead of skating all over the map we can see him go deeper, grow roots and stand firmly upon the mountain of his work.