photography, Virginia Tech

Cindy Bertelson



Cindy Bertelson
ART 2664: Digital Photography
Digital Prints; 8×10

By shooting the images in “The Ages of Man: A Brief Meditation” from behind the subjects, the series attempts to portray anonymous  men through American cultural stereotypes and expectations of masculinity. The cowboy, the soldier, the media – aimed at hunters and fishermen, the bald “hair” style – all illustrate the transience, which ends in frailty.

9 thoughts on “Cindy Bertelson”

  1. These photographs frame a male subject as the focus of voyeuristic gaze, yet conveying a sense of tranquility and timelessness, as if the time has just frozen for them. I believe many photographers would choose over female subject in scenes like shopping for food or reading alone in library. These photographs therefore become the constant reminder of how the concept of gender role is never a binary opposition.

  2. This is great concept. The fact that the subjects are unaware that they’re being photographed or even that they’re not alone creates a very honest captured moment. It makes you wonder what they’re thinking about since they seem to be caught in introspective moments. I think it’s interesting that you bring up frailty because there is something vulnerable about lone figures captured from behind, lost in whatever they’re doing.

  3. I am drawn to your composition as I love that you chose to feature one isolated subject in front of a background of immense repetition. This gives the images an overwhelming feeling as if the subject is lost in their surroundings. I also find it interesting that they both are hunched over/looking down which add a sense of focus and a somber mood. The black & white is a nice element as it eliminates unnecessary detail.

  4. These photos are intelligent in the sense that they allow the viewer a sort of outside look into the everyday routine of a random man. In the above image, the man is looking through magazines that resemble car, men’s fashion, men’s health, etc. while holding a basket in a seemingly feminine fashion. In the image below, the man is sitting at a desk in a busy, yet empty room. Perhaps these are commentaries on the idea of masculinity, yet the nature of man rebelling against these social constructions?
    Regardless of meaning, the photos are rather nice in terms of contrast and composition. Both images show an extreme difference in white and black values, and the long vertical nature of the shot(s) in question is an interesting idea that challenges conventional aesthetics.

  5. Your idea of anonynomity while maintaining identity through stereotypes is a great concept for this series. This concept was well executed in which these men remain anonymous by photographing them from behind, but the viewer still gets a sense of what the man is about from the environment you placed him in.

  6. I really like your concept in trying to portray the men in anonymous American culture. The repetition seen in both pictures is really quite powerful as well. By repeating the lamps and the magazines in each picture, it makes it seem like the man is immersed in whatever they are doing and that they are lost in their own world of reading/ working. It also makes you wonder if the men are bored of their own repetitive daily routines, and by taking pictures of their backs with heads looking down it emphasizes their boredom of repetitiveness in a way. Also, the black and white filter adds on to the emphasis of glumness/ boredom of their routines, leading to the frailty that you discussed in your summary.

  7. The pictures caught my attention at first glance, but the concept behind the photographs are just as great. I believe identifying male stereotypes without an actual identity opens many conversations that are not usually spoken about in the American culture. I enjoy that the secondary aspects of the photo, such as the magazines or the desk space, become just as important (if not more) than the subjects themselves.

  8. I recently haven’t been a big fan of a ton of contrast but these pieces are absolutely beautiful in terms of contrast and composition. Although they are both pretty dark, I draw a sense of quietness and serenity from these photographs. I think your choice to not include the subject’s face was smart. Nice job!

  9. Awesome work. The composition and high contrast of both works leads me to your concept. Both give a sense of solitude, distraction and mystery, leaving a viewer wondering what might law below the surface of this man (or, in this case, on the other side).

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