Photography "Discarded Tank Tromp-l'oeil" by Hunter Madsen

"Discarded Tank Tromp-l'oeil"

The deliberate orientation of this image creates a visual conundrum that encourages the eye to render its own conscious interpretation of what is being shown.  The shot is oriented such that the opening cut from the flank of giant chemical tank - discarded among the weeds at a salvage yard - aligns in center position with the frame of the image perimeter. This alignment prompts the viewer to perceive the black square as being somehow external to the subject and floating on top of it, perhaps imposed artificially by the photographer, much as Rene Magritte once floated an apple in front of a businessman's face, or akin to how the French photographer Georges Rousse designs visual non sequiturs.  Seeking to resolve this ambiguity, alert viewers spot the cut-out piece in the grass. 

The picture's formal symmetry and its circle-and-square design echo that of a central icon in world art - Leonardo's Vitruvian ManIt also evokes the classic mill stone of Chinese antiquity. Building resonant, implicit allusions into a photograph is another mode of alienation.


TITLE - "Discarded Tank Tromp-l'oeil"
WHERE - Salvage yard, San Diego, California (2016)