The “key” to Remembering Hardware


I decided to select the photo of the rack of keys from the photo essay “Remembering Hardware”. What I really enjoyed about this photo was the combination of a close up shot, with a relatively shallow depth of field. The depth of field accomplishes two things. First, the keys in focus help bring attention to the details of the keys. They are all a little bit different, with minute changes in their size or design. Second, the keys out of focus help bring a feeling of a vast amount of keys hanging on the wall. It just is not one row of these keys. There are multiple rows, and so many that all of them could not be fit in the photo and they are out of focus. The effect of this adds to the story of Mr. Kramer, as it supports that he knows everything about anything in his store. This shot helps add to the intimacy of the story. The parallel rows of keys are an example of “leading lines” which draw our eyes along a path through the photo. As you “journey” through the photo, the details of all the keys come out more. In addition to this, the use of symmetry of the parallel lines of keys helps add to the photo. It is a bit of a contradiction; while the keys are symmetrical in their organization, they are anything but when examined individually. It adds a focal point to the scene: the keys, which again is used to draw the viewer to notice the detail in the keys.

The intimacy between Mr. Kramer, and all the different various tools and knick knacks scattered around the store is described through this photo. Mr. Kramer does not just know what is in the store, he knows exactly where it is and what it looks like. It helps add to the “legend” of him. The keys are a perfect example to use because they are both something simple and common, a key, and something that is uncommon because of their detail. The photographer could have choosen another object that is uncommon in the store, but it would not have had the same effect. If there is nothing else like it, of course he is going to remember where and what it is. To have the effect of intimacy, the contrast between the common and the uncommon needed to be made. It is not one single detailed key, it is dozens and dozens of keys hanging on hooks that are all a little bit different.

The image fits right into the story line. Right before this image, the photo essay had just told about when he took over for his father as the owner of the hardware store. This photo is perfectly placed because it shows the reader of the essay how seriously he took the task of taking over for his father. He really took it to heart and loved doing what he was doing. While it could have had a similar effect at the beginning, to get the full designed effect of the photo, you need it right after the circumstances of him taking over the hardware store.


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