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  interpretation of what it's seeing.  The shot is oriented such that the opening cut from this discarded chemical tank aligns in center position with the frame of the image perimeter. This pointed 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 imposes startling visual non sequiturs.  Seeking to resolve this ambiguity, alert viewers spot the cut-out piece among the weeds. 

The formal-feeling beauty of this image consists in its unblinking symmetry. Also, its circle-and-square design echoes that of a central icon in world art - Leonardo da Vinci's Vitruvian Man - while evoking 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)