Woman on a Bench.
In the Collage with Cartier-Bresson’s Woman on a Bench, the woman seems to be suspended on slats streaming into the distance. We have a collision of unexpected experiential domains. Prehensions of tautness, hovering, the woman clutching her collar with references to chill and self-possession, her legs outstretched and floating on her cane, and other details, are to be harmonized with the perspectival movement of straight slats, which are also suspended (we do not see bench legs). We form actual entities, such as vanishing in the distance, suspension in space-time, reverie, and fading feminine elegance out of our prehensions. Notice how details such as the pearl ear drop, the flimsy gown seen below her coat and her aquiline features (on close inspection her nose bridge has a bulge which can diminish the reading of her sharp features) can contribute to feelings of refined femininity, as does the fine scale of checks on her coat. The thin line of her mouth and sharp lines of her hat brim contribute to the formal harmony, which enables us to meld the many objects touched upon in the extensive continuum into the actual unity of one experience.
Cartier-Bresson’s photograph of a lady on a park bench provides a symbol of the human consciousness in contemplation of time. The photograph of the real person on the bench becomes a particularly enriched symbol of the human capability for self- reflection because of the powerfully harmonized references of dreamy introspection, suspension in space, flow through space, age, and feminine personality that the photographer miraculously captured.