Thursday, June 2, 2011

Interior of Cast House, Molten Pig Iron and Runners, c. 1930

Luke Swank
Interior of Cast House, Molten Pig Iron and Runners, c.1930
Luke Swank was a photographer in the 1920’s and 1930’s Great Depression era, with his work cut short in the early 1940’s. He is not a well known photographer, as he passed away at an early age and at such a short length of being well known, but many studies have accumulated a great interest in his pictures. After attending Pennsylvania Agricultural College now Penn State, Swank began to pursue his interest in photography. Swank has contributed pictures that reflect the natural state of the American scene, particularly pictures and objects he felt was vanishing. Some of his work includes machinery, circus, people, the Amish, and buildings.    
What I really enjoy about Swanks photos is the angles, lines, shadows, and highlights, he gives in almost all of his pictures. When I first began looking through the book Luke Swank: Modernist Photographer, by Howard Bossen, the first images I really enjoyed were the pictures of the Amish Children. I love these kinds of old time photos and have always wanted to create similar shots, I still just might do so for the final project. I also was intrigued by the circus pictures including the clowns, the depth and emotions on their faces and interesting subject matter create fascinating pictures. I chose to discuss the Interior of Cast House photo, because of the contrast and highlights and shadows used in the print. The sharpness, steam, and lighting of the molten iron create an eerie glow. The depth of the picture makes the image look like your looking in to this scene, the dark sides and building adds to this connection of the image with the vertical and horizontal lines. I feel as though this is a powerful image and wouldn’t change it.  

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