Let’s see what we can all come up with on this theme: an individual at work, either looking happy about it or looking intense, concentrating, “in the zone.”
Is it your own photo? Then perhaps tack on some background and some photographic specifications.
Is it somebody else’s photo? Then perhaps let us know what you can about its provenance.
For example, the photo above I took with my shiny red Canon PowerShot on AUTO and two filters. The near filter was an 1860 windowpane with drippy glass; the outer a crummy storm window from the 1970s that had not been washed lately. These careful choices lent a look of authenticity and presence to what was actually happening as the neighbor was digging a trench for us with his backhoe 4 feet from my office window.
If you are feeling timid about dealing with images, fear not! Here is an essay about including images in comments; here is another, on resizing images; here is a third, on aligning them. How did I find these? I nosed around in the right sidebar, found the section called “META”, clicked the link named “Knowledge Base” , and scrolled through it. You can do that, too, because hey, it’s free.
I like the contrast and sharp shadows in the photo above. The orbital sander in his hand is fighting back! The result is the fuzzy look of the right hand and arm, as well as the furious gadget. This photo was meticulously planned to emulate classical Japanese painting, in which almost everything is careful and perfect, with one thing imperfect just to set the perfection off. Did it work?
The man in the image above is cutting some Burmese jade, while simultaneously putting on a Rembrandt show. It is dark all around, with a delimited lit area in the center. The windows give natural light, while the spotlight is LED, much nicer than the fluorescent shoplights, which fortunately were off that day.
Rembrandt painted this, not I. It is The Night Watch.
What is this guy doing? Preparing a court case? Studying for a big exam? Researching for a newspaper article or a book? We shall never know, since it has been 80 to 100 years since my grandfather took this portrait, and he left no notes. I am pretty sure this is not Mencken. Wrong city.
Notice the bright oval area in the center, with dark all around it. iPhoto calls this the “Matte” effect. Framing a photo with an oval matte was fairly common in decades past, assuming my family collection is representative. I wonder if the effect is a crude version of the Rembrandt look: a dramatic effect by a master painter turned into a trope for mass participation.
Not all the world is chiaroscuro, thank goodness. Look at the bright airy light in this machine shed and heifer barn! With proper technique and good light, ruminants can undergo abdominal surgery in field conditions with great success. The bucket is converted into a surgery table. A calf with umbilical hernia is sedated and has anesthetic, with hernia repair taking place within a sterile field. She is doing great, growing sleek by leaps and bounds, after her herniorraphy, although she has expressed no gratitude for it. This was taken with a late-model smartphone.
One more and then it is all your turn. Can you believe this guy? The chainsaw is a good five feet long with twice as big an engine-end as a farmer or homeowner’s chainsaw. At this point in the tree surgery he is pushing that trunk over while holding the saw in one hand. Sure, the blade is supported some by the cut, but still.
With the slightest encouragement I could root around here and find the photo with the combined mass of the saw and his upper body leaning more than 90 degrees over the edge of the bucket as more, surely more, than the mass of his lower body below the edge of the bucket.
There are more examples, always, but now I’d love to see your photos of working people “in the zone”. Who has a memorable image of a Navajo or a Mohawk walking a skyscraper beam? How about a Basque sheepherder standing on his horse’s saddle, alone among thousands of sheep in Montana grassland? That latter image I saw some years ago and cannot find again. Help me out here?