Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Learning new things

I am currently working on my master degree in English literacy, and through this I learn so many interesting things. A subject we have had this semester is 'Reading Verbal and Visual Signs'. As a part of that we analyse images, as we would analyse poetry.
This is my first image analysis.
               Our professor said there would be a competition on who could find the most interesting image (it was an optional competition, and only myself and a couple of others entered). I submitted two images, and I won with the latter.

Image analysis

Image number one:
Tulkas and Melkor

This is image can be both centred and polarised in its composition.
The fists of Tulkas are in the middle, and may be the salient part of the image. His character is also in the foreground. He is looking determined and angry, and covered in symbols of almost angelic meaning. If you know the story of the War of Wrath from Silmarillion, this image is a fan made piece of art, taken from the moment when Melkor’s strength finally is overpowered.
Tulkas was a Maia who was given Valar powers. He came last to Middle Earth and tipped the balance in favour of the Valar.
            Much to Tulkas’ delight it was decided that Melkor had to be removed. This was a war to make Middle Earth peaceful for the coming of the Firstborns, the elves. Tulkas wrestled with Melkor and bound him with Angainor (chains) forged by AulĂ«, the smith.

The reason this could be viewed as a polarised image, even though the other character is further back, is that the character in the back actually engages with the audience. The character is the evil Melkor (later known as Morgoth the destroyer). With breaking the fourth wall, Melkor’s character becomes more than the lurking darkness at the back.

The two characters are getting the same kind of attention because of how they are placed. Maybe as you see it first, Tulkas is in the front, but the moment you see Melkor in the back, it is as if he is forcing his way to the front.
In this setting Tulkas is the New, and Melkor the Given, which is a twist of how we normally read the Given and the New. It is normally from Left to right. In this setting it is from right to left.
            Tulkas represent the light and Melkor the darkness. And even though Melkor is surrounded by flame, it is not the light of day that drives him. It is the false light of the flames. Tulkas is glowing from his inner light from Aman.
            We can also draw a line from Tulkas’ glowing eyes to Melkor’s glowing eyes, as a kind of horizon in an image without both heaven and light.

If we divide the image into two, the one of Melkor could be a triptych, with him in the middle and the two Balrogs on the sides.
            All the spears of the soldiers are pointing the same way. And the spears are also prolonging the angle of the mountains. Making the mountains go on forever.

This particular war shaped Arda (or Middle Earth), and the fights made even the land move, that’s how violent it was. The violence comes through in the image.

The mountains almost look like fangs, like the teeth of a dragon surrounding them, or about to devour them.

The sight is compromised by the blizzard, and there is no light other than the one Tulkas embodies.

If I were analysing this image from a position where I did not know where it came from, I would probably put it in a Norse mythology tradition. This could easily be Thor and Loki in battle (though there is no hammer).

Image number two:
Fifth Element

Triptych in composition
Three images, three faces. The interesting thing about this triptych is that it can almost be called a classic triptych with a religious theme. The story is a classic good vs. evil.
            The character in the middle, the salient, is looking straight at the audience, making a connection. The character to the left and the character to the right are looking in the same distance, maybe looking at the same thing?
            The space ships are flying towards the centre, increasing the importance of the middle character. Funnily enough, the character who IS the Fifth Element (Leeloo, played by Milla Jovovich) is to the hero character’s (Corben Dallas, played by Bruce Willis) right, and not in the middle. He might then be a representation of the Given, and she of the New?
            To his left, in good medieval image style, is the evil character (Zorg, played by Gary Oldman).  However, if you have seen the film, you will know that the real evil is in the shape of a planet. And this planet is showed in the middle at the bottom of the image. The planet is red, almost as if it is covered in flames, and the characters at the top are surrounded by almost heavenly blue, even Zorg, who actually in the end becomes a sort of a comic character, rather than a true evil General. This is a rather classic depiction of good vs. evil, a blue and serene heaven vs. a burning chaotic hell.
            This whole composition is quite symmetrical, and the light of the ‘Fifth Element’ becomes a horizon line, dividing between heaven and hell. But it can also be seen as the bottom of a sword, though that might be stretching it a bit far.

The two characters at the sides are almost mirroring each other. Or they could represent the opposite? I believe they are opposites. They are the two characters who represent the earthly good and evil, and the planet becomes the Devil, and in a sense Corben Dallas becomes God. I am only speculating here, and this is a rather superficial analysis. From an image point of view, then, Zorg and Leeloo becomes opposites, and the planet and Corben Dallas becomes opposites. 
Leeloo becomes the weapon Corben Dallas eventually wields to beat the evil. 

No comments:

Post a Comment