Finbarr O’Reilly

Link to critized picture (Second picture in slideshow): A Senegalese woman cools off in a swimming pool, Dakar, 2007

The picture shows the blue of swimming pool water, a black woman in a red bikine, a laugh with visible white teeth,  and no eyes. The photo is framed without the eyes. The first time I saw the picture it was in portrait style in a book, only on the internet I saw it presented in landscape style. And without the eyes that’s possible. It didn’t look strange. It might also have to do with the fact that the woman is in the water.

I can read this picture in three ways:

  1. The photo represents joy. The woman is enjoying herself. I think this is the way the photographer intended it. I read about the photographer and on his website the photo is presented under ‘daily scenes’.
  2. A more abstract interpretation. It’s the colours and contrast I like. Without the eyes I can overlook the fact that I’m looking at a body in water.
  3. An object of lust.

Finbarr O’Reilly is a british/Canadian photographer that is not only interested in stories of suffering in Africa. He also likes to show everyday life in Africa, the beauty of its landscape and strength of its people.


O’Reilly, Finbarr (2007 ), At: (last visited 3 May 2017)

Koch, R. (2009) Photo:box New York: Abrams


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