Saturday, August 6, 2011

In the heat of battle

SCA — movement
In the heat of battle SCA Fighters at an SCA event with the Shire of Cloondara
This image dives into the middle of a very action-rich fight. The two fighters are hewing at each other with all their might, swords and shields clashing as they lunge at each other in the meadow.
It is a picture full of contradictions. It is a depiction with modern day technology of dresses, armors and weaponry from centuries past. It is a picture full of movement, with shields and swords and legs blurring, while both helmets, and large parts of the combatants remain frozen in time, moving too slow for the shutter to get confused. And it is a classic triangular composition — which is associated (I am told ;-) with calmness, closedness and steadiness — while the picture itself is full of action, almost rambunctious in its energy.
Attention is drawn cleanly to the fighters, with the blurred background and sharp motif as well as the color contrast, and the complementary colors (red vs. green) all aiding the separation of the two fighters as the important part of the picture.
Here, again, context provides a bit of a difference in interpretation of the picture. I was there at the event, and I know the SCA as an organization. Hence, I know that the fight was sportsmanlike, there were no sharpened weapons present, and the attitude going into the fight was very similar to that of sparring martial artists. However, none of this is apparent from the photograph. Instead, from the photograph, it looks like a pretty vicious fight, one that will end with one or the other of the fighters injured if not killed. From their poses, it looks as if the left hand fighter is getting the upper hand — though once you acquaint yourself more with swordfighting, it becomes clear that a lower, more collected pose is not necessarily a disadvantage. The strong connection between their gazes, their hidden faces helps isolate them as a pair of fighters, as opposed to a part of an entire shield line, a band of brothers fighting side by side on a battlefield.

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