The picture of United Artists Theater in the “The Ruins of Detroit” photo essay was especially captivating to me. First and foremost, the picture shows a good deal of depth. Although it is not a straightforward as a picture taken down a hallway, you can clearly tell that the picture was taken a good distance away from the focal point of the photo, which is the stage below. The angle the stage is photographed at, as well as its size, which is smaller than if it was photographed from directly in front.
The stage is photographed off-center, yet the furthest right hand edge of it reaches the far right third of the picture. The off-center stage is also balanced by the box seating to the left of the stage. The curtains on the box match the curtains on the stage, connecting the two images. The box seats also fall in the middle third of the picture. This asymmetry creates a more dynamic photo than if the picture was just of a stage taking up the central portions of the photo. The curve of the balcony the picture is taken from leads your eye around the auditorium circularly, leading your gaze to the focal point of the photo, which is the stage.
Looking more closely at these two sections of the photo, they are the only portions with any type of color. The gold curtains draw the eye to the parts of the photograph they take up. Additionally, the light source in the photo appears to be directly across from them, illuminating the sunny fabric. This produces a feeling similar to that of relief. There is light in the darkness of the abandoned theater. Not all hope is lost.
My favorite aspect of this photo is the pattern of the molding around the stage, box seating, and ceiling. This single intricacy is the only part that remains from the theater’s glory days. The way the molding frames the stage is completely symmetrical, providing a sense of order to an almost wholly disorganized photograph.