Friday, 15 January 2010

Art of Photography: Project 21

This project focused on diagonals. Again I enjoyed learning about the properties and effects shapes can have on an image. In the case of diagonals they usually imply movement in an image much more than horizontals and verticals, as diagonals are seen as unstable.

I also enjoyed learning different ideas for capturing diagonals in an image. Photographing a straight line, fence, wall, etc from an angle will create a diagonal, something that is hard to miss if you have been taking photos for a while as they crop up everywhere. However, using them effectively or creatively is another matter, such as to converge on a point, draw the viewers attention along their length, divide the image, etc. I find this fascinating and I'm really trying hard to remember it all to experiment and put it into practice in the future.

Another aspect which intrigues me is the use of different focal lengths to achieve certain results with diagonals, something else I hope I can remember! Wide angle lenses can exaggerate diagonals and create converging lines, whilst as telephoto lenses compress viewpoints and subjects they can be used to compress/flatten a line of points to create diagonals.

I really enjoy learning these aspects of photography, and also the fact that although some of this becomes evident to you naturally and without thinking about if you have been doing photography for a while, its only when you study and concentrate on it in this way that you can start to see more creative options and idea's using these effects. What I mean to say is, from the photography I had already done I knew some of this already, but until now it wasn't actively used in my pictures and would never have been considered, to the detriment of my photography. Where as now I can explore ideas and concepts which can make use of and even focus on the techniques I have learnt.

I wasn't too pleased with the first pictures I took, I wanted something which could explore the ideas I had learnt but I didn't have much time and the light was fading. I had captured diagonals but not found anything as creative as I'd hoped.

I was much more pleased with the fourth image though. A combination of a wide angle lens and low viewpoint created four converging diagonals on the bridge.

Friday, 8 January 2010

Art of Photography: Project 20

This project was about the lines in a photograph. Horizontal and vertical lines and how they are seen by the eye, standing out more with more contrast.

The target was to go out and photograph 4 horizontal and 4 vertical lines, whilst trying the make the content subordinate to the line, i.e. the line is the first thing noticed or stands out the most.

As suggested in the project I found that the most common lines were man made structures, both horizontal and vertical. However I was interested to read in the project about other ideas for lines which I hadn't thought or seen, such as shadows, rows of objects making a line, a string of points making a line, and a mass of objects seen from a low angle. These gave me more idea's for lines and geometry which I would like to try out.

I was also interested to read some of the other idea's about lines, such as horizontal lines being seen as static, stable and having weight as they are naturally seen as a base for something to stand on! Whilst vertical lines have more sense of movement, and that parallel verticals in a horizontal frame can have a greater sense of speed and movement.

The project told us to just take pictures of lines first, without reading on, and then told us about other ideas for lines. Whilst I understand the philosophy for that type of learning I would have preferred to have been given the ideas first and then able to go out and see what I could make of them. I feel this would have not only produced much more interesting pictures but also would have felt to me that I'd really learnt something new and interesting, and furthered my photography. Of course I will make an effort to try and remember these and try them out but to have already tried them as part of the project would have been better.

I really find it fascinating to see how the brain works, how the eye sees, and to find aspects of that knowledge which can help create more interesting and intriguing photographs. For instance, the way some drawings with certain geometry and shapes can trick your mind into seeing different things! That is just one aspect but if you could learn and understand how and why the brain and eye sees those things then you can implement them into photography!

Anyway, here are the lines I found whilst out. Like I said, I would have liked to learn the new ideas before going and been able to find more interesting subjects!

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Art of Photography: Project 19

This project was about many 'points' in an image and how their relationship and placement creates the overall image and its composition. I had to create a still life with 6 or more objects, adding one at a time and changing the placement and composition as I went along.

I actually found this quite difficult. Maybe my choice of still life wasn't very good or maybe its because I haven't had any practice with building a composition in this way. I found myself trying to create patterns with the objects to make an interesting image, whilst still trying to place them in a way which would look 'normal', i.e. like they could have been scattered there and not carefully placed in a strange arrangement. Maybe the objects themselves weren't interesting enough.

I'm not sure but I found I didn't have many ideas for how to arrange them to make a good picture. I thought the idea was good enough. I am a smoker who is thinking about quitting and finding it hard, although I know its bad for me. I had an idea about trying to show a kind of contradiction or struggle, which represents my own struggle with smoking and that of many others. I was going to use the objects which create the smoking, i.e. cigarette, lighter, ashtray, but also the fight against it as an inhaler and aid for giving up. Actually the way I imagined the idea would still make a good image as I had pictured the scene to be dramatic with strong lighting and camera angles. The trouble here was that this project called for a top down view which didn't match what I had in mind. I think I got confused between an idea that I thought was good but used for a project which didn't really match the idea. It's all learning I guess.

In the first image I simply placed the object off centre towards the golden section.

The second object was placed in the empty space to the left.

The third object is placed upper left at a similar angle to the first. The intersection of object one and three create a frame for object two.

Because the cigarette and lighter are the 'finished article' they are central in the picture and pointing to the elements that made, which are placed around the edge at the 'back' of the image.

Now the ashtray is added and is almost central, with the tobacco and papers etc pointing towards it.

The tobacco and cigarette papers are on the left, the finished cigarette is on the right, both pointing to the inhaler which is center front in the image, the 'aftermath'.

For the final image I had the ashtray almost centered, with the lighter, tobacco, etc, surrounding it. I placed the inhaler and a stop smoking aid at the bottom of the image. I thought it would be good to place the inhaler at an angle to appear like a 'tick' and the stop smoking aid to appear like a 'cross'. The tick and cross show again the struggle - smoking is good, smoking is bad, keep smoking, give up smoking.

This image shows the lines created by the objects. I actually didn't notice some of these until I saw the image on the computer! I understand that often these lines and shapes in photographs can be created subconsciously, but I also know that one thing the course aims to teach is to be able to see this kind of thing when composing an image, before taking a picture, and not rely on the subconscious to get it right! So I hope this is something I improve at soon. The lines created form a frame around the ashtray which is the subject of all the photos, and also line up diagonally across the image.