straight down the line


This week, I took some photos in various places around campus. Here are five examples that, I believe, really capture some of the basic visual elements of noir.


1. cogitation

I took this photograph in front of a blackboard in a DuPont classroom. This room has spotlights which provide a light source from one direction that adds to the dramatic effect of the photo. I chose to take it in front of the blackboard to imitate the noir convention of framing an image in darkness.

This photograph illustrates a sense of moodiness and drama that is typical to noir. The pondering angst represented in my facial expression is highlighted by the fact that I am surrounded by darkness (thanks to the black backdrop of the blackboard).


2. elevation

The next photograph is of a stairwell in Melchers Hall. I shot it from an angle that showcases the linear details. The stairs and walls already contrast strongly, but the black and white camera effect heightened this difference in appearance.

This image demonstrates the grittiness of built environments. The fact that almost all of the forms are geometric heightens the sense that the structure is manmade.  The dark stairs, weathered but resolute, show the perseverance of the construction.


3. indeskigation

This was taken under the spotlight of that DuPont classroom. I captured the image by turning off all other lights, standing on an adjacent desk, and shooting from above.

This picture is an example of the noir convention of looking at things from odd angles. This shot from above is reminiscent of classic noir police interrogation scenes where a spotlighted criminal is shown from above sitting in a bleak questioning room.


4. captivation

This is another shot from that DuPont classroom. I stood tilted at around a 45 degree angle so that the light from above appeared to be towards the side of me.

In this picture, the noir tradition of one-sided lighting is demonstrated. This tactic hides half of my face in mysterious shadow, creating a sense of enigma.


5. trainsportation

This was taken at night at the Fredericksburg train station. This view from across the tracks displays the railroad, the station itself, and the night sky.

This photograph illustrates the urban nightscape. I enjoy it particularly because I think it represents many themes of noir, including a yearning for travel, alienation from the modern world, and a bleak sense of emptiness. This is heightened by the fact that there are no people in the picture.


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