Laurie Toby Edison


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Portrait: Ruby Dee

Laurie says:

I seem to be looking at portraits lately.  I saw this one of the actress and activist Ruby Dee and really liked it.  I’ve always admired her and this shows her at time I hadn’t seen before.


This was taken when she worked at the Western Electric Company’s Kearny Works during World War II, soldering wires on an assembly line.  I like the way it shows her intense concentration, and aesthetically I appreciate the way it pushes the ragged edge of white (something I do in my own work).

Paul Novitski asked me in the comments to expand what I mean by the “ragged edge of white”

I think the best way to start, is to say something about the ragged edge of black. This is the edge you see pushed more usually in photography. A good example of this is Roy De Carava’s photo from post about him.



I like to push the ragged edge of white occasionally, which is less usual.  This photo of mine is a good example.


You’ll notice the important areas of the intense whites and you do in the portrait of Ruby Dee.

Thanks for asking Paul.

2 Responses to “Portrait: Ruby Dee”

  1. Can you talk a little about what you mean by “pushing the ragged edge of white”?

  2. Laurie Toby Edison says:

    Good point, I’m adding the explanation with examples to the post.

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