Thursday, September 11, 2008

Tom Waits

The photo that I want to analyze is a portrait of Tom Waits by Mark Seliger. The purpose of this photo is to capture the man Tom Waits. Seliger does a particularly well job with this. Tom’s character is very out of the ordinary and he is truly an individual. He is funny and interesting and his music is one of a kind. All of these qualities of Tom can be seen in this photo. I can just picture him singing “The Piano Has Been Drinking (Not Me)” while taking this photo. 

The visual elements of this photo are definite and clear. The light comes in from a diagonal creating sharp shadows contrasting the brightness of the light. The light also creates a circle of light close to his face and thus drawing attention to it. The main focus is Waits’ upper body and face because it is the sharpest and clearest. The lines of the photo also help build up the visual elements. The shadow of Tom and the piano create lines on the right side of the photo and Tom’s curved body contrasts the lines on the left side. There is also repetition as seen in his shirt with the creases and the piano structures like the pedals and the keys.   

Another key visual element in the photo is the contrast between organic and geometric shapes. Waits creates a very organic shape while the piano very geometric. This contrast brings the photo together nicely. Within the photo, there is a good amount of contrast in value and in shape. When it comes to the values of the photograph, a wide range can be seen. The values vary from the dark of the piano to the white of the light and all of the grays in between. Texture and depth also add interesting points to the photo. Depth is created by the shadow of Waits’ body and the direction of light. And, the texture of his shirt is very pleated and realistic, while the piano has a very smooth and shiny texture. His face also maintains the texture of his wrinkles and his hair is life-like. These are things that make the photo realistic.

The Piano Has Been Drinking (Not Me)

The piano has been drinking

my necktie is asleep

and the combo went back to New York

the jukebox has to take a leak

and the carpet needs a haircut

and the spotlight looks like a prison break

cause the telephone's out of cigarettes

and the balcony's on the make

and the piano has been drinking

the piano has been drinking...


and the menus are all freezing

and the lightman's blind in one eye

and he can't see out of the other

and the piano-tuner's got a hearing aid

and he showed up with his mother

and the piano has been drinking

the piano has been drinking


cause the bouncer is a Sumo wrestler

cream puff casper milk toast

and the owner is a mental midget

with the I.Q. of a fencepost

cause the piano has been drinking

the piano has been drinking...


and you can't find your waitress

with a Geiger counter

And she hates you and your friends

and you just can't get served

without her

and the box-office is drooling

and the bar stools are on fire

and the newspapers were fooling

and the ash-trays have retired

the piano has been drinking

the piano has been drinking

The piano has been drinking

not me, not me, not me, not me, not me

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