Sunday, November 04, 2012


"Quantum Of Solace" Kolkatta, India
Here is a word that is not often used but ubiquitously seen: juxtapose. It means to place together and contrast two or more separate phenomenon. Juxtapositions are everywhere, e.g. the position of the sun relative to the horizon, the temperature inside as different from outside, a fat person standing next to a skinny one, or an old person holding a newborn child. In the arts, juxtaposing brings drama to work. A bright landscape painting is made more thrilling with dark shadows, music is deeper with climactic surges mixed with interludes of softer passages, and theater is fuller when humor and sadness both enter the stage.
"Tango Passion",  Mixed-media

Juxtaposition can be embarrassing and detrimental as well. We see this in current political campaigns, where one candidate proclaims himself as good and points to the other nominee in contrast, as bad. Class prejudice is built upon juxtaposing of extremes of wealth and poverty.

I use juxtaposition in my art and photography to bring drama and surprise to the work. While I was traveling and making my street photography, I often sought stark juxtapositions, such as setting my camera up and focusing on interesting walls so that people walking in front of me became blurred while passing by. In the photo I am showing here, an innocent oriental child, dressed in her native attire, stands in contrast to a violent western poster proclaiming an action movie. The dissimilarity adds to the intrigue and drama of the picture.

In my tango images, drama comes from juxtaposing stark light with the tension of male and female interaction that is intimate and ritualistic.

Juxtaposition gives us reference and allows our imaginations to soar.

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