David George, Shadows of Doubt, 2011

The piece of art I was assigned to analyze in conjunction with Hitchcock’s work was David George’s Shadows of Doubt, presented in 2011.

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The art itself obviously appears to be directly inspired by Hitchcock’s film Shadow of a Doubt, though the artist itself cites the director’s tumultuous childhood, primarily spent in the East End of London. The shadows in the portrait and the architecture reminds one of the eerie, shadowy, distrustful buildings in the movie, and also alludes to the effect Hitchcock’s childhood had on him psychologically and on his films. Hitchcock was intrigued by Freud’s psychoanalysis theories, particularly the idea that our feelings and behavior as adults are primarily influenced by the experiences we have had in our childhood, so it would not be a stretch of logic to assume that George attempted the reflect this in the photograph. This photograph in particular invokes a sense of unease in the viewer, much like the emotions evoked when the protagonist of the film Shadow of a Doubt, Charlie, was running amongst the shadowy buildings of her town towards the looming presence of the library, where she would discover the true nature of her uncle.

When one looks at the haggard architecture and looming height of the buildings photographed, one gets a sense of danger, something Hitchcock always strove to invoke in his viewers. The elements of film noir as evoked by these photographs are evident as well – in the film itself one gets a strong sense of the genre through every camera shot. Shadows are essential to the genre, as they are to the emotion George is trying to emit through these photographs.

David George does an excellent job of evoking not only the feelings of the original film, but the inspiration behind that film and other films made by the evidently tortured Hitchcock.

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