When I saw Kanye West recite his poem “Bitter Sweet” on youtube, I was more impressed by his ambiance than his performance and by his garb than his intelligence (even though I liked what he said about Black History Month and thought it was funny that a line of clothes could be boring before he wore them).
To compose a great picture, one needs more than a camera and a subject. One needs to see a full composition.
Colors. Objects. Lighting. Framing. Pattern.
I thought, Mr. West’s setting is one if a kind.
Behind him was a stack of suitcase’s and he walked on stage with a satchel. He created Def Poetry into something more than a poetry spot. It became a photo-shoot, his fashion statement. Mr. West with his props. He fed the eye of the beholder as well as the soul of the listener.
What is it about the suitcase’s that gave it a self-controlled atmosphere? Or can I even argue that the suitcases was what gave off a self- controlled atmosphere? After all, we are talking about the Kanye West. It seems like giving off a “self-controlled atmosphere” is something he can do just by walking into a room.
Before my main subject runs away from me, let’s get back to the settings- the suitcases.
Years later after seeing Bitter Sweet on Youtube, I started to see suitcases in a lot of pictures. They were already there, artist were always including the suitcase as a setting, but for some reason I never saw them until I watched the video.
Anthropologie‘s take on the suitcase was the most original, a painting by contemporary realist painter Christopher Stott made the topic simple and vintage inspired. Club Monaco approach to the suit case was similar to that of Mr. West, used merely as a prop while Talbots included a story line, French Twist being the title.
In all of the photos, the suitcase speaks volumes. It suggest travel, adventure, and fun but also demeanor, speech and amazing ambiance.
Which is what Kanye West has… right?