Now I Am Become Finance Man…

December 04, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

Now I Am Become Finance ManNow I Am Become Finance Man

This image evokes in me the famous quote by Robert Oppenheimer on the occasion of the first test of an atomic bomb on July 16 1945. He quoted the Bhagavad Gita and said: "Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds."


The puny Finance Man in the bottom left of the photograph stretches out his arms to the world in the garden of the French Ministry of Finance and represents the power of money to create and to destroy, particularly the latter, which has been felt worldwide since 2008.


Contrasting Crop Sizes


For me, his human insignificance in the face of the powerful monetary bureaucracy is evoked by the contrast of his human scale with the vast, almost “brutalist” architecture. The tiny corner of the image which he “owns” is crushed by the oppressive size and dark, prison bars of the edifice.


I tried an alternative, “tight” crop, which would have shown him larger and more visible, but the oppressive effect of the juxtaposition is lost.




Post processing this image mainly required attention to the lens distortion in the verticals, dealt with by the application of an image-bending tool, as well as a problem of moiré, visible in the pattern on the edge of the horizontal girders. The latter is a rare, but inevitable product of the D800 camera’s high-resolution image sensor. Although much discussed at the camera’s launch, moiré is a rarer phenomenon than its users had feared. I was, however obliged to go lightly on the sharpening of the RAW file on this occasion, since it significantly worsened the moiré.




Camera: Nikon D800

Lens: 24-70mm f2.8G Zoom

Focal Length: 38 mm

Focus Mode: AF-S

Autofocus Area Mode: Single

Aperture: f/14

Shutter Speed: 1/250s

Exposure Mode: Aperture Priority

Exposure Compensation: -1.0 EV

Metering: Matrix

ISO Sensitivity: 250

Held on Monopod


Hoping that this photograph does not give bad feelings to those of us heading to the end of the French fiscal year, I hope that you will take little tour of my main website.


Copyright Paul Grayson 2015


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