Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Art of Photography: Project 25

Here I learnt about the first of three basic shapes, rectangles.

Most opportunities to photograph rectangles come from man made things as they are made with straight sides and right angles. They have to be shot from straight on to maintain shape, as any deviation in the viewpoint will distort the rectangle. Also, because the frame of the photograph is itself rectangle, it is very easy for the eye to compare shape and see distorted or uneven rectangles, so even a small change in angle from 'straight on' becomes very obvious.

Whilst doing this project I found this fact to be quite limiting as it limits what you are able to do with a subject and also makes for quite a static image. However, rectangles can also be used as frames within a frame, and as they match the shape of the photographic frame they are also good at dividing the frame into sections.

Shapes in a photograph can create associated feelings or views, in the same way as lines. Rectangles are associated with being formal, enclosing, precise and static.

For all three of my photographs I decided to take them handheld to judge how hard it is to line up the rectangle to keep its shape in the frame. I found that I had to have quite a few attempts and as you can see they are still not perfectly straight. Even when using a tripod you would have to be very precise and careful to line up a rectangle perfectly, and although this is generally not needed or desired anyway, it does show just how much a rectangle is affected with even very small changes to viewpoint.

Art of Photography: Project 24

Project 24 still focused on design elements, but moved from lines to shapes. Here I learnt the basics of 'shape' and that a shape can be an outline or an enclosure depending on the subject, and that again as with lines, a shape is mostly defined by contrast, either of light or of colours.

I also learnt that shapes can be regular or irregular, and that regular shapes such as triangles, rectangles etc, are more easily recognized and therefore play a larger part in composition than irregular shapes.

I enjoyed learning that even when a shape is not clearly defined (it may be broken or uneven), as with lines the brain fills in the gaps to define the shape. I also enjoyed the examples of contrast playing a large part in forming shapes. A light subject such as a white building can have its shape defined strongly by placing it on a dark background. In the example a dark blue sky was used for the background, utilizing a circular polarizer to further darken the sky, which made the building and its shape clearly stand out. The other opposite example used a light background to define the shape of a silhouette, another effective technique which also removes detail from the silhouetted subject, further emphasizing just its shape.

Art of Photography: Project 23

After horizontal, vertical, diagonal lines and curves, this project focused on implied lines. Implied lines are those which are not complete or obvious but which the brain judges and resolves to make into lines. Imaginary lines.

As with the other projects on this subject, I enjoyed learning about this and hope to be able to retain the knowledge and put it into use. I particularly like implied lines as they can be used to direct a viewers gaze and attention to parts of an image, but in subtle and hidden ways.

For this project I had to find and photograph two examples of this in use.

This picture uses a line extension, where only part of a line is used but the viewers eye follows the direction of the line to a point of interest.

This image uses an eye-line, where the viewer follows the direction of someones gaze in the photograph.