Picture Analysis – Toshio Shibata; 2007; Red Bridge, Okawa


  1. Take a close look at the photograph above. What do you see? Write a visual description using short phrases and keywords. Describe the objects you see, their shapes, colour and tones, the direction of lines. There’s a picture to analyse in each part of this course. Always start your analysis by describing what you see.
  2. What took your attention first? And where did your eyes move to after that?
  3. A picture can have many subjects, but what’s the main subject? Apart from the objects depicted, does the photo have a metaphorical subject?
  4. Describe the quality of the light and shadow. Note the atmosphere or mood of the picture.
  5. Look carefully at the composition, the way the different shapes, lines and tones are arranged within the frame. Make a small sketch with notes explaining the composition. Do the lines or shapes have a particular direction? Note these down on your sketch.
  6. What does the title tell you?
  7. Name every object, that is every ‘thing’ that’s in the picture.
  8. Is what you’re seeing and what you’re describing the same thing? Or is there something you think you ‘know’ intuitively? Make a distinction between what you can see and what you’re guessing, feeling or intuiting.
  9. What is your felt or personal response to the photograph? This is your experience of it.

Red Bridge Okawa

Toshio Shibata; 2007; Red Bridge, Okawa

Initial Thoughts:- Leading lines, diagonals, light through bridge, imposing bridge, into source of light, light from top left, lighting looks wrong on right sides of bridge structure? HDR of bridge? Lightroom exposure mask? reflections from bright path, hint of trees/forest, physical journey through the bridge, emotional journey into the unknown as the bridge path goes into the trees/representing a journey into the soul, light rays from sun, good exposure and composition leads through the physical structure, a gentle but firm opening that leads to the emotional journey.

Cream, curved, diagonal line of path from bottom left through the centre of the image, leading to the background. Repeated red diagonals of bridge structure, repeated lines, rectangles and boxes of bridge, dark background hints of mystery, Trees in background with rays of sun lighting them from top left background, triangular shadow of bridge, dominant highlights and midtones, bright, sunny, cheerful, title says the photo is about the bridge and does not refer to the emotional journey that I see, reflections of light from the path, lighting looks wrong on some parts of the bridge structure (too well lit on some of the uprights on the side that is receiving no sunlight, some of the oranges should be reds or at least darker orange, a hint of road hidden in the trees on the left and right hand side of the image. Front lit image that hasn’t been rendered void by going into silhouette, demonstrates some post processing which has been done effectively. Has not removed dirt, tarnish and stain so the bridge structures look natural.

Toshio Shibata; 2007; Red Bridge, Okawa; in Robert Enoch; 2017; Foundations in Photography; Open College of the Arts; Barnsley; P42

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