David Plowden Emulation (8)

Jones County, Iowa 1987

This image shows the dominance of the field and crop over the human element the house and farmstead.  It’s telling of how vast and even desolate the land is.  The land and sky equally balance  each other with the central focus being the house.   this photograph is simple and quiet, and it’s taken at a great distance away from the home.  We see a clear sky with few clouds far on the horizon, and it was probably photographed either late morning or late afternoon because everything is so brightly lit.

Strength: Balance

Farm on Bridge Road Outside of Cedarburg, Wisconsin (20110)

The horizon is in the center of the image so the land and sky are evenly balance. The central focus is on the barn,silo and trees.  I feel this is one of my closest emulations because the environment matches the environment Plowden photographed very well.  All I had to do it match up the composition and format. (5X5)  The lighting is very similar, but not quite as direct and the camera is closer in relation to the farm, but otherwise it’s pretty close.

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David Plowden Emulation (7)

Van’s Clothing, Victor, Iowa (1986)

This image has a sense of peculiarity and quirkiness.  The hanging gloves look like little hands patting the window.  the door and building are set back from the sidewalk at a slight angle and the windows are very dark.  Some reflection gives the viewer some information about what type of store it is, but it’s still ambiguous.  The gloves are photographed off center at eye level and the lighting is very even.  Both lines at the bottom of the side windows lead up to the gloves, so the eye is naturally drawn to it.  I think Plowden photographed this because it’s so quirky and unique, something you might not find in larger cities, especially if it’s a clothing store and this is how they display gloves.

Strength: captured a humorous moment.

The Chocolate Factory Stoop, Cedarburg, Wisconsin (2011)

The door is photographed at an angle instead of almost straight on, but the subject and focus is on a newspaper at the door step.  Though it is not quirky or humorous, I believe this type of thing  will disappear, because even now I’ve noticed papers being delivered less and less on people’s stoop, let a lone a business’s stoop.  The light is fairly even like the image above, and the doors are also cut off because of the camera angle.

David Plowden Emulation (6)

Janesville, Wisconsin (2003)

In this image Plowden uses a more flat, documentary style. He photographed in a shade or during an overcast day, which mutes all the shadow and decreases it’s contrast.  The rustic and worn doors of the shop play off the whole idea of the barber shop being an old or small town element that is disappearing in America, especially in larger towns and cites.    The doors are frames in the center with a barber pole and a closed sign located near the center.  This is an image to capture and document a business that is rapidly disappearing, the closed sign is almost a statement or a foreshadowing of this businesses current or future state.

Strengths: Composition, Concept.

Vic’s Barber Shop, Cedarburg, Wisconsin (20110)

This shop was in the shade for the most part, the contrast and shadow are slightly higher, and I believe if I photographed on a more overcast day, it would resemble Plowden’s.  The door and window balancing each other out, with the left frame of the door splitting the image right down the center.  I chose to include the barber pole on top of the closed sign, sacrificing balance and composition to more closely duplicate Plowden’s closed barbershop theme.

David Plowden Emulation (5)

Grain Elevators, Aurelia, Iowa (1986)

The image again explores the theme of perspective and converging and diverging line.  The photograph was taken at eye level, in the shade, probably in the late afternoon.  The image contains railroad tracks, a small station, and grain elevators.  The gravel at the bottom of the frame gives the image a nice visual weight to compensate for how large the structures are.  It feels like this image is all about the shake, it’s off-center, but it’s the only object that is not cut off in the frame.

Strength: Balance

Behind the Elevators, Beaver Dam, Wisconsin (2011)

I feel that the light was a little too intense that the Plowden image, and that also caused the contrast to increase as well.  Unfortunately everything is cut off in this frame, but my focus was also off center, all the lines aim to the logo on the truck.  In most of Plowden’s work, he is shooting either eye level and straight on form the subject, or he uses perspective and brings multiple angles into the images he creates.  I used his perspective technique to emulate his documenatry-like image seen above.  So this image really only relates to the general style of Plowden, but it matches the position of the camera relative to the structure, angle of light,  and angle of camera

David Plowden Emulation (4)

Grain Elevator North Topeka Kansa, 1968

In this image we notice the grain elevators are cut off, the photograph was taken more at an eye level.  This is an interesting was to compose an image because it’s straight on and level, in the style of  pure documentary form, and it eludes to the fact that these structure just dwarf the buildings and telephone pole.  The buildings create an interesting layer affect, and they play off the sunlight giving the photograph even more depth.; some strutctures are in sun, other in shadow.

Strength: Depth, Composition.

Grain Elevator, and Shadow Inside, Beaver Dam, Wisconsin (2011)

In retrospect I should have framed this image to cut more of the top portion of the structure off, just to give it the same look and feel.  Because the grain elevators differ so much from Plowden’s it’s hard to read this image as a grain elevator.  The dark shadowy figure inside brings an element of ominous activity.  However different this image is from Plowden’s, the subject and angle is the same.

David Plowden Emulation (3)

General Mills Elevator, Buffalo, New York (1985)

This image was taken up close, at a lower angle, in mid-afternoon light.  The is little if any shadow, and the subject dominates the frame, cut off at both side, and just barely within the top line of the photograph.  This image represents an industry, a way of life for many in this country.  For most farmer, this industry dominated  the rural towns and cities, it is icon and a symbol of taking whats grown and harvested and transporting it to larger cities.  Many people in the rural community know and gre up around these grain elevators and for them it’s just apart of their day to day life.

Strengths: lighting, angle/, and composition.

Grain Elevator, Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, (2011)

This grain elevator was much more modern than Plowden’s, it is also smaller in comparison.  The texture of the structure is different, which gives the image a more industrial feel, but the subject matter, lighting, framing and angle are very similar.

David Plowden Emulation (2)

Approaching the 98th Meridian



The composition in the photograph is key.  The view is seeing this church and hill as they are driving towards it, so the angle of the car hasn’t began to change due to the incline.  This cuts most of the sky out of the frame.  One of the most interesting elements to this image is the telephone poll which forms a cross right behind the church, just re-emphisising the subject.  The road to the church is strong, but whats more powerful is the idea of the rod leading to the sky because nothign is viewable beyond the hill.  This gives the image the message that the road is either a path to salvation, heaven, or god.

Strengths: composition, concept.

Church on the Hill, Overlooking Richfield, Wisconsin (2011)

I tried to find a church on a hill, to also give the illusion that nothing exists beyond the hill, but I unfortunately can’t cut down the tree’s in the background.  The sign was a great element in this image because it connects to the geometry of the church steeple.  Instead of being in the middle of nowhere, which this church was, it’s surrounded by trees so the environment and lighting doesn’t convey as strong a message as Plowden’s.