In July 2020, before post grad college began, we had a few introductory sessions. Our professor for film and photography, Jeroo Mulla gave us a small challenge.

To analyse a photograph by one of the photographers she has chosen in just 300 words.

I chose to work on an image by French Photographer Jacques - Henri Lartigues.

source: mutualart

July 2020

The image chosen for analysis is taken by the French photographer Jacques – Henri Lartigues. In this monochromatic picture, one can see that a car race has been captured in action. The photo seems to be have taken from the view of the spectators and shows a racetrack that looks like it is on an elevated area, like a hilly region. Bystanders flank both sides of the track, presumably cheering for the participants.

A sense of alignment is apparent, when the outline of the racetrack, along with the trees shadowing it, forms a rectangular shape. The eyes of the viewer shift organically and numerically, owing to the way light has been emphasised upon. The focal point of the photographer are the cars that seem to be gaining speed, from which the focus shifts to the automobile in the lead, that is nearly out of the picture but still manages to grab attention. The dark trees lining the sides of the tracks are of a contrasting nature to the main light in the picture
and provide a balance in the distribution of colours.

Similarly, the spectators on either side of the tracks, have been kept in the dark, so as to not prioritize them. The whole photograph follows a straight pattern, of race cars, and spectators, all arranged meticulously. The essence of a motor car race is also evident in the way the speed of the cars has been depicted, a quick flash of blur. The feelings of excitement and nervousness are not missing from the picture either. The photographer convinces the viewer, that most of the spectators and participants are experiencing these emotions and gives a touch of familiarity to an otherwise geometric image. All in all, Mr. Lartigues captures magnificently the aura of an automobile race in this picture.