Photographs are taken not for our own pleasure but as an alternative means of communication to words. We take images to capture a moment, tell a story, express emotion, and to record. Paolo Pellegrin is a contract photographer, nominated and received many awards. His photography is aimed towards the idea of being unfinished, to create dialogue about it and leave the subject open. In Pellegrin’s biography for magnum photos he states, “There are pictures that are closes, finished, to which there is no way in” (Pellegrin, header). This is declaration to keep his photos open and undefined, to allow others to converse and have their own definitions for his works.
This image shows the seaside in Malecon, Havana, depicting the tetrapod used to shield the city from pummeling waves of the sea. It shows two sides: the riling sea and the vulnerable city, and the wall that separates the two. This small wall that creates a sense of security within the city is not perfect and still allows water to splash over the edge, onto the street. This is similar to the walls we put up in life to defend ourselves. Similar the sea, someone always finds a way to penetrate our walls allowing threats to splash over the edge and threaten the city within ourselves. The message this image is trying to convey is that while there are two sides of the world in life: the harmful churning waves always trying to break down your defenses, and the security that exists in your community behind those walls. This community can be yourself, your family, your friends, or even your beliefs and values. This image demonstrates how real-world amenities relate on a spiritual level to our daily lives in this world.
The medium used to capture this image is color photography which is an important factor when determining the meaning of a photo as well as depicts stories and emotions. The color in this instance helps to define the two sides, one is vicious and angry, the other is calm, innocent, and diverse. Without the color in this image you might conclude that both sides are similar, or on the same level. The two sides of the wall are not equal, and with the assistance of color you are able to depict the difference between the ocean and the city. The short distance between evil and good is best depicted in the photo because photography gives you a real-life image in your mind, contrary to a painting which lacks personabililty and increases the feeling of distance from the presented message.
The method used in this image to express the message has to do with the angle the photographer has chosen to capture the image. The photographer Paolo Pellegrin chose to capture this image for a reason, not by accident. He could have chosen to picture the water, or the city and its culture, but he selected this sight for a reason, to express his message. He made the separation between the city and the ocean the center of the image, giving the spotlight to the waves hitting the wall and showing the imperfections it holds. This method of using perspective and color allows the message to be easily recognized, and conveys it effectively.
Images will always be used to capture moments, express emotions, and be preserved for centuries. The images we take will always be there, but the meaning can be interpreted differently as time goes on. This seaside photo by Paolo Pellegrin has a very literal meaning of good and evil, separated by a wall, but also a hidden meaning relating to the ways of life and the defenses we put up to protect our beliefs and values. His medium choice of using color photography is an effective way to capture the reality the landscape holds, as well as an effective way to convey his desired meaning. The method used by Pellegrin is a broad angle showing both sides of the barrier, the good and the evil. Showing this perspective allows you to see the life in Havana, and the security behind the wall. Photography is an essential part of many people’s lives, whether to tell their story or to tell another’s. There is always a message, medium, and method behind each photograph, and that is how a story is told through each one.