Big Shot

I first heard of Gregory Heisler when he began teaching at Syracuse University last year. I’m not involved in photography, so it wasn’t until I copy-edited an article about him for The Daily Orange that I realized what a big deal it was for him to come to SU. I came up with the mac for the story, “Big Shot.” After finally checking out Heisler’s work, this title for the story is definitely affirmed as fitting. My favorite portraits displayed were those of Tim Burton and Muhammad Ali. The portrait of Burton creatively reflected his personality and his artistic style. With his unkempt hair style and the tubes surrounding his face, he looks like a kooky mad scientist — which the role he plays in a way behind the screens of his dark and fantastical films. The tubes also have an ominous effect, the way they’re angled coming at his face give them a threatening presence, and they resemble snakes. This ominous effect showcases a theme frequently repeated throughout Burton’s films. The portrait of Muhammad Ali has another interesting message. In other forms of media like movies and on TV, Muhammad Ali often is portrayed as a larger than life figure. The portrait on the other hand, showcases him in a more realistic light, opening our eyes to seeing Ali as just another small person in a big world. In the big, flat snowy landscape, Ali appears a surprisingly simple, peaceful figure, without the aggression we see on TV.


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