Shedding “light” on destruction

For my blog post, I chose to write about the image of the dentist’s chair in “The Ruins of Detroit.”


1. In this image, the photographer uses the rule of thirds to position both the chair and the window on a line. This draws the viewer to that busy space, leaving the right side of the image sort of empty (balancing elements). The light coming through the window only really reflects on the broken glass on the floor, which makes the viewer think about the destruction done to this room. The viewpoint of the photographer lends itself to “leading with lines,” which adds an element of movement to this image.

2. Like I said above, the light reflecting on the broken glass is one of the most powerful aspects of this photo. When I first saw this image, I was just confused about what it was trying to say. But after going through each of the visual compositional elements in class, I can really understand what the photographer was trying to do with this picture, which was to illicit an emotional/rhetorical effect on the viewer:

3. The audience of this photo essay are those people unfamiliar with Detroit. This immediately puts us in the context of our own culture, which would be whatever city we’re from and how we view it. Assuming none of us really know Detroit, it’s the photographer’s intention to make us feel a particular way. I’m not sure if this was the main goal, but after viewing this photo with my newly gained understanding of compositional elements, it is clear to me that to photographer wanted me to feel desolate, lonely, maybe even  sad. This great, huge city is being portrayed through photos of destruction.


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