80’s Pop Culture Photography

First off, I just want to say that Whoopi Goldberg is a super dope name. I had to do some research on her –I knew she was an actress, but I didn’t know when her breakthrough came. I found out that her role as Celie in The Color Purple (1985) directed by Spielberg was when her career really took off.

The first things I noticed about this portrait was the lighting, the contrast and the selection. In the right-hand corner, there’s a “heavenly” lighting shining down on Whoopi, it really creates a stunning and powerful image. The contrast I also noticed; it varies from the left side of the image (darker) to the right (lighter) and creates natural shadows on her body. I also really noticed the contrast when I saw her body nearly disappearing into the bottom of the photo, I think the black shirt was a smart choice.  Everything about the selection of the photo is simple; from the cigarette (which the smoke just looks perfect in my opinion) to the jewelry and shirt she’s wearing, to the emotion on her face. I feel like the selection almost juxtaposes the lighting; everything she is doing is so simple, yet the lighting is so powerful. To me, this picture basically screams: “I’m a badass”.

There isn’t much depth to the photo in my opinion, but the longer I looked at the photo the more I noticed how it’s shot in a way that makes it look like she’s taller than you and she’s almost looking down on you. I guess it’s another ode to the bad ass idea. I don’t have much to say about the balance or background of the photo (besides the awesome black backdrop), but as far as the aspect of moment, I think the cigarette really as a lot to do with that; it makes you feel present, since smoking is something that you actively do in the moment. 

Credit for photo

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