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.

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