Gift of Wallace and Wilhelmina Holladay
Gum bichromate print
13 3/8 x 5 in.
The Rose demonstrates Eva Watson-Schütze's affinity for creating strong silhouettes. Here she has posed the young woman against a plain studio backdrop, thereby emphasizing the irregular outline of her dress, accentuated at the shoulders by the broad sweep of its heavily embroidered panels. The woman's placement in the center of the composition, facing straight toward the camera, adds to the feeling of flatness and further stresses the outline of her body against the backcloth, which is itself flat.
Watson-Schütze has chosen an unusual format for this photograph: a tall, narrow, vertically oriented rectangle, which the figure nearly fills. Virtually every element in this composition adds to its sense of verticality. One such aspect is the way the embroidered panels narrow to a point as they descend toward her hem. In addition, the woman holds a fully opened rose, the stem of which is so long it reaches from her throat to her knees, forming a slender dark line that echoes her slim proportions and her dark hair, which is parted in the center. The broad satin ribbon near the hem of the dress provides one of the few horizontal lines in the picture, paralleling the division between light and dark sections of the backdrop; its shiny texture is complemented by the gleam of the pearl ornament framing the subject's head. Clearly visible in the upper left corner of the image is Watson-Schütze's monogram, a device favored by many contemporary photographers who signed their work.
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