Tuesday, August 2, 2011

On the bench

On the bench
Benched members of the Berkeley Roller Derby team.

The image conveys, to me, a feeling of rapt attention, and maybe even some dismay, in some — unseen — sequence of events. Most of the sportswomen in the picture have their gazes out to the left (as the viewer sees it), and with a mixed array of facial expressions. Whatever they are watching is not too horrifying — some of the watchers are relatively neutral — but it is certainly a strong attractor of attention and even speculation.

The exact interpretation of the picture, and of the story untold, the hypothetical object of attention, is rather open-ended. The picture doesn't push its own interpretation of events very strongly. While most looks follow the same axis that the line of the helmets sketches out, there are motions in the image that counter this — most notably the girl turned back towards her team-mates instead of out toward the action, seemingly involved in conversation.

The attention and drama I see in the picture seems to me to be a strongly encoded message: it is not something I feel particularly ambivalent about. It is strongly conveyed by the facial expression on the right-most face in the picture, but assisted, also, by the several other players looking in the same direction, and by the lines following their gazes.

I remember the situation I shot the picture in — at a Roller Derby bout between Berkeley and Richmond, two teams from the SF/Bay area. Just outside the shot is, additionally, the coach of the team, with her own face a picture of rapt attention and emotional investment in the action on the rink.

No comments:

Post a Comment