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Video transcript

we're in the Metropolitan Museum of Art and we're looking at lászló moholy-nagy is climbing the mast from 1928 it's a gelatin silver print and it's pretty amazing it is amazing and shows one of the things that he was known for with his new vision photography over these worms eye and Birds Eye views and this is a classic way to see what he meant by worms eye view this unexpected angle that you get of the climber on the mast it's kind of jarring and it makes you stop in your tracks because it's not the kind of positioning that you would normally expect with a straight photograph he's taking the worms eye view very literally and uh pending our expectation well because he was always hoping that by giving us these unexpected or what was often called oblique angles that would lead us to think deeply about what we were looking at so you have a figure a human figure I actually can't tell whether it's a male or female can you not really maybe it's just not important it's just an athletic body climbing to rig up a sailboat and you get this also interesting shadow of the rope ladder and the figure reflected on the sail that's being rigged you know you see it from directly underneath he's almost disembodied looking legs and the bottoms of the feet kind of staring at you right in the face it's a totally foreshortened figure and it takes a moment but then you finally see this head peeking through the legs kind of looking down and making eye contact and then you have the wonderful wooden master the ship it's slicing through the center of the composition so you can also see that he has great eye for compositional elements and I think there's really a strong sense of geometry as well everything is divided into sections if you wanted to you could take apart the entire thing and kind of piece it back together and there's also rhythm that he sets up visually between textures between light and dark between shadows between fabric and wood and especially the legs which are really smooth and the smoothness of the wood that travels all the way up everything is just sort of lifting us up into this image Kriss dynamism of motion and movements swooping you into the composition they became very convinced that photography was going to be the new language of the masses and he actually started to refer to things like photo literacy that if you didn't know how to read images you were going to be the new illiterate photography was a definite weapon for them in terms of communication in terms of revolutionary messages in terms of art gear it's mohali playing with perspective and playing with perception and playing with our vision and really forcing us to look at things from a different point of view yeah absolutely I mean with mohali a lot of times the subject matter it's rarely overtly political for the most part for him it was more about expanding the perception of the viewers that would allow them to engage with this new modern language it was for the masses so it was political but not overtly so someone like rich Anka would use these oblique jarring angles but he would almost always have subject matter that was also political demonstrations you know little pioneer girl with muhuali it was more of this general formulation still very modern life material I mean especially the you know athleticism of the figure a real symbol of modernity oh he's injected that aspect of yeah modern life contemporary figure that we're looking at yes in arguably contemporary you