Landscape: Studium and Punctum

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Most photographs will have elements within them that attract the eye. Those that stand out (studium) are often the subject of the image. In contrast, those details easily overlooked are sometimes referred to as punctum. But, to be truly considered punctum, there must be something special, poignant, about the detail.

2020-07 Monuments Project, Building, Cityscape, Compositional Features, Concept, Content, Event, Event - Travel, Image type, Monument, Nature, Other, Palm Tree, Person, Plant, Projects, Punctum, Thing, Travel, Wood
Promenade des Anglais, Nice, France, 2018
Starting in the second half of the 18th century, the English aristocracy took to spending the winter in Nice, enjoying the panorama along the coast. Inspecting this image, our eyes may land first on the people. The promenade might be second simply because of its weight in the image. The odd alignment of the chair might also attract attention. The subtlety (or punctum) however relates to the white posts along the edge of the promenade. They protect the strollers from traffic. On July 14, 2016 a truck was deliberately driven down the promenade, killing 84 people and injuring over 200.
The Equestrian Statue of Friedrich Wilhelm III, Köln, Germany, 2014
The subject of the image is the status of Stein (who stands below William III, but not in the photograph). On closer examination, we can see holes in the bronze. I suspect these are shrapnel “wounds” resulting from the bombing of Cologne during the Second War.
Cathedral of Notre Dame de la Garde, Marseilles France, 2018
The cathedral is one of the major attractions of Marseilles. Completed in 1873, it was refurbished in 2008. Yet a portion, shown in the top left corner of this photograph, remains untouched, exposing the “…marks of the battle for the liberation of Marseilles, August 25, 1944”.

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