Today’s vintage photo of the day is called The Photojournalist by Andreas Feininger and was taken in 1951. It has become an iconic portrait and the subject is photojournalist David Stock who won a photojournalism competition. Feininger shot the image‚for Life Magazine where he worked for decades.
Feininger is perhaps best known for his‚architectural‚ and street shots of New York City in the forties and fifties. This portrait does not represent Feininger’s average subject matter and yet it is amongst his most famous photographs for many good reasons.
What draws us to this photograph is obviously the unique way it’s presented. The Leica camera is turned to one side so that the lens and viewfinder act as the subject’s eyes. Both lenses have specular highlights which mimic the catchlights seen in portraits. In addition, the image is beautifully printed with rich blacks and whites with detail. The eye is skillfully guided to the focal points (lens and viewfinder) in this image, likely through selective dodging and burning (selective darkening and lightening of specific parts of the image). It’s the combination of technical skill and well thought out composition that make this image superb.