The photographer, Brassai, was famous for his photos of Paris at night in the 1930s. When you think of nighttime photos, think “limited illumination.”
In this Brassai photo of Pablo Picasso, some very interesting choices were made to enhance the artistic composition of the image:
1. Note the interesting shape of the wood stove and the shadow it throws on the wall.
2. Picasso, illuminated, is positioned in front of the stove’s dark shadow for maximum contrast, causing the eye to notice the relatively small figure of Picasso immediately. Had Brassai not done this, Picasso would have been adrift in an ocean of background.
3. By capturing the full, vertical height of the stove, Brassai abandons the up-close, journalistic look into Picasso’s face that would have been the choice of virtually every other shooter. The Result? This photo is not just about Picasso, but the moment and the place, as well.