Square Du Vert Galant Analysis

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Object
The aim of this assignment is to discuss the meeting point between public sexuality and urbanization as portrayed in the photography of Robert Doisneau’s The Square du Vert Galant 1950. Documentary street photography is grounded in realism. Photography can be seen as a constructed image of the world, capturing the truth, capturing reality. A painter begins with a blank canvas, but the photographer constructs what he sees in his viewfinder, which is never empty. A painting consists of layers of paint but a photograph consists of layers of meaning. Meaning which is constructed by the photographer, but also the knowledge and history of the viewer.
Both art and photographs are ways of portraying the world as the artist would like it to
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Paris was allegorically represented as a place where people of different backgrounds can look, gaze. From the perspective of the viewer, the kissing couple is almost hiding away from view, and although they are passionately kissing as if no-one is watching them, the fact that they are hidden away, may signify that it might still be viewed as unacceptable to kiss in the street. It can be argued that it may be experienced as obscene (Any material or performance is “obscene” if (a) the average person, applying contemporary community standards, would find that considered as a whole, its predominant appeal is to the prurient interest in sex.) to the woman in the way that she doesn’t just “gaze” at them, but literally turns her neck away from her child whom she should be watching, and blatantly staring at them with an almost disgusted look on her face. She is looking at something that is crossing certain moral boundaries in her view. That, which repels, attracts the gaze. It signifies the fact that although they were moving into an era where sex has moved from the home to the street and has become more acceptable, this woman were still stuck in her old ways of thinking where people were still used to mechanisms of sexual repression. What the eye sees is regulated by need and prejudice. It points to the notion that getting used to the idea is not as easy as just lifting of laws or giving society more freedom. The kissing couple is almost divorced from the audience because of the fact that they form part of popular art (image reproduced so many
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