Andy Warhol and Debbie Harry

Andy Warhol is an artist recognized for his contemporary art and culture. His extraordinary works is what called my attention to know more about him. Warhol was born on August 6, 1928 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He passed away on February 2, 1987 in New York City, New York. He was the youngest out of his two siblings. Warhol suffered from a nervous disorder that caused him to be resting a lot. Those times helped him become the person he was. His mother provided him a camera at the age of 9, which got him interested in photography and art. Warhol also had an obsession with celebrities which later influenced his work. He graduated from Carniege Mellon University in 1949 with a Pictorial Design degree. Warhol worked in polaroid series in the 70s and 80s. He took pictures of many celebrities. He has stated that “My idea of a good picture is one that’s in focus and of a famous person.” (Campbell, 2015).

The picture I chose from the series is Debbie Harry, 1980, Polaroid. The artwork contains a picture of Debbie Harry. She’s the subject of the Polaroid. They way Warhol took the picture was with her sitting in a chair, and he shot from her shoulders and above. In the Polaroid Series, Warhol got up close and personal with their subjects. He met Harry at New York where they greeted each other and become close friends afterwards. Harry was herself when the photoshoot happened. Debbie mentioned how she didn’t feel pressured at all. He just wanted them to wear red lipstick and a white base to give the picture washed out effect. All of Warhol’s Polaroids seem soothing and enjoyable. He took many rolls to make sure himself and the subject were fulfilled with their image. This Polaroid caught my attention because of the layout. The neutral color of herself and the bold color of her makeup look gives her a soft yet daring look. Warhol used a perfect lighting and composition. Harry, having a light complexion, can still be distinct from the bright background. You can still see her natural color. The composition what caught my attention the most. She’s right in the center of the Polaroid with minimal space around her. He shot from her shoulders up giving us a closer look of Harry.

All the focus is on Harry because of the intimacy of the picture and the minimal space around her. My eyes first focus on her eyes and move around her face, then into her posture she’s holding. Warhol was effective with this artwork because my eyes were drawn into Harry. The makeup look is a bold color but delicate pigment giving her a soft feeling. Her posture and the tilt of her head gives her daring look. The entire Polaroid Series was amazing. It was a turn in art and inspired many. Warhol took the Polaroids with the Polaroid Big Shot. It was introduced in 1971.In order to get the scene lined up, you must go backwards or forwards while looking through the rangefinder. Once you shoot the photo will come out from the top. It includes a 60 second timer on the back to keep track of the development time. When Warhol took Harry’s pictures, she was just posing for him.

During that time, Warhol had inspired Harry to try new things and styles. The entire Polaroid Series showed the subjects’ style. It inspires me to try new things that I’ve never done before. The best qualities of the Polaroid are her posture, makeup look, hair, and the space around her. The light color of her makeup and space gives her a soft and innocent look, yet her posture and hair gives her a bold feeling. The artwork was successful because since it was taken with the Polaroid Big Shot, he had to think about the set up and the lighting for it to come out with a good exposure, in which it came out perfectly. I love the work of art because Harry looks incere in the picture. He took many different pictures with a variety of postures but this one spoke out to me. The Polaroids were successful because it brought a different medium in the art.

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