The second take is much different from the first take draft for one main reason. In the first draft, my interpretations of the picture were based in what I could see and how I could interpret the appearance of the photograph. By this I mean that the first draft was influence by my own perspectives of the photograph and what it represents. I did not have the advantage of having the information regarding the background of the work or the artist, and therefore embedding these factors into the interpretation. For instance, the aspects of color in the photograph meant something different when I looked at the photograph in the first draft compared to the interpretation in the second take after incorporating knowledge from research into the background of the photographer. I have a different perspective on other elements of the photograph now that I have more knowledge on the background of the photographer. This and other elements that for the differences in my interpretations and predispositions between the first draft and the second take form the body of this paper.
One of the main observations I made in the first draft is the predominant use of dark colors in the photograph. The background of the photo is made of very dark colors. The use of dark colors gave a very sharp contrast of the background and the foreground of the photo. This was also accentuated through the use of warmer colors in the clothing worn by the young girls in the photograph. My interpretation of the use of color in the photograph was that the use of dark colors in the background was deliberate in order to color indicates that the setting of the photograph is a theater stage. The young girls’ clothing is colorful with hues of bright pink, blue, yellow, orange, and white. These color choices made them stand out in the image, stating that the viewers’ focus must be on the young gymnasts and what they show or perform in the photograph. The lighting is also bright and focuses on the young girls. One could clearly see their faces, positions, and movement in space.
Having benefited from primary information from the photographer, I have a different perspective regarding the use of colors in the photograph. In an interview performed by Christian Kuan with the photographer, he revealed some of the influences of his extravagant use of colors in his art work. In fact, this same element was highlighted in his art works such as Last Supper (1997), Romantique (2003) and Catcher (1998). Although the photographer is not categorical in agreeing that the influences from his formal training in painting motivate his profligate use of colors, he agreed that his professors during the training taught the overgenerous use of dark colors during painting. The photographer could have carried this over when he left painting for photography. It is also conceivable that the use of dark colors in his artwork is influenced by the environment in which he lives. For instance, the photographer was trained at the Sichuan Academy of Art.
In the interview, the photographer confided that this particular area was much polluted and the only colors which were predominant as a result of the polluted air were grey and black. Given that the photographer has a passion for depicting the environment as it is in China, it is not inconceivable that the use of dark colors is also an influence of the environment in which he grew and trained as an artist. The use of the work colors in the clothing worn by the gymnasts is an influence of his relocation to Beijing. In the interview, the photographer narrates that after he relocated to Beijing, he was amazed by the dramatic modernization. The urbanization of China has been very influential to his art. It was because of this modernization that influenced him to employ lush and ornate colors in this artwork. Owing to this, gaud colors feature as a predominant aspect in his artwork.
The other reconsideration I have made after benefiting from more knowledge on the photographer is the use of the girls of Asian descent in the photography. In the first draft, I thought that the use of the young Asian girls could be that the photographer is perpetuating a stereotype about Asian girls and their skills or capabilities as gymnasts based on their body type and flexibility. I was not quite certain if the image was intended to reflect such idea and if this is really a stereotype. However, my interpretation was informed by the fact that that during international competitions such as the Olympics, Asian gymnasts, particularly Chinese gymnasts would always receive accolades. If this is a widely believed stereotype, I would not say that it is bad or negative because it links skill to race. This stereotype perpetuates the idea that Asians are good gymnasts. Nonetheless, it is alienating for other races and for Asians who are not skilled in gymnastics.
I now understand that the use of the Asian girls in the photograph is not intended to perpetuate any stereotypes, negative or positive. This is the act that Asian gymnasts, especially of Chinese origin tend to do well in sporting activities where gymnastics as a skill is tested. The use of the girls of Asian descent is influenced by the fact the photographer is of Asian descent, and as such has a close understanding of the region. In the interview with Christine, the photographer argues that his familiarity with his society and the fact that its culture is closer to him than any other culture influences him to use elements of Chinese descent in his artwork.
A given piece of art can be interpreted differently by different people. This is because of the diversity in thought and perspective. It also implies that the interpretation of a given piece of art is the result of one’s perspectives and experiences regarding the subject explored in the artistic piece. However, one’s interpretation can benefit from background knowledge on both the artistic piece and the artist to whom the piece belongs. This is an experience that I have gained literary. The first draft contained my take on the subject and the style of the photographer in creating this art work. After benefiting from knowledge in the photographer, historical influences of his style and the influence of his environment, I have had to reconsider many of my positions regarding the photograph. As a result, the second take is fundamentally different in perspectives even if the photograph in question remains constant and the elements of the photograph analyzed remain unchanged.
Brooks, Catherine. Wang Qingsong Addresses Chinese Urbanization In Massive, Impressively Crowded Photographs. Wang Qingsong Studio. Accessed June 28, 2015, http://www.wangqingsong.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=285& Itemid=41&lang=en
Galerie loft. Wang Qingsong: Golden Future. Paris: Galerie Loft, 2002.
Qingsong, Wang. Interview with Christine Kuan. Oxford Art Online. June 28, 2015.