Akito Tsuda's Example


When photographing in a community and especially in people's homes, capturing the background is equally as important as the subject. People's environments can tell you a lot about what they find important or worthy enough to hang on their walls.

What stands out immediately to me in this photograph is that Mr. Tsuda chose to position his subjects in front of a picture of the Virgin Mary, known as "La Virgen de Guadalupe" who is endearingly regarded as "The Mother of all Mexicans". 

Whether this was intentional or not, it is almost as if the Virgin Mary is watching over the subjects, something that might have been important to the subject, Mr. Tsuda, or just pure coincidence. Although the poster is missing a piece and is taped on the wall with painter's tape, it remains there. Its cultural and religious value is much bigger than any of the aesthetical flaws it might have. 

On the far right of the image, you can also see that the TV is on with what seems to be a drama, (often referred to as a telenovela) which is a big part of Mexican culture and is always present in a grandma's home. 

Right on top of the TV as well, is a photo of a baby, which given the context of the image could be a photograph of a child or even a grandchild of the woman. 

Assuming that the woman in the photograph is the grandmother of the girl on the left, she sits up straight and is dressed in her best suit, offering only a slight smile to the camera. However, the girl on the left slouches over with a wide smile in heavily patterned leggings, contrasting the posture and appearance of the grandmother.

Even the faint Coca-Cola wallpaper that is on the wall by the TV can give the audience a sense of what the people in the household like to drink. 

By photographing these two subjects in their home and in the environment in which they probably spend a lot of time, I can gather a large amount of information about what they deem important or even a glimpse into their personality. (Even if I didn't examine the whole background)

You can feel and sense the passion and care that Mr. Tsuda had toward the community. I can't stress enough the trust that is required to allow a stranger, who not only doesn't speak your language but doesn't look anything like you, who has a camera, into your home. As an immigrant himself, Mr. Tsuda was able to understand the value of personal items and culture and was able to capture that.

Akito Tsuda's Example