Thursday, June 6, 2013

New Ways to Photograph

Back when I was a little more limber and was teaching a beginning photography class, one of the opening group exercises I would do  is to have them stand on top of their desk (luckily we had strong tables) to see how the world looked different. Then we would reverse the experience and everyone had to be on the floor - placing their eyes two inches from the ground. Strangely enough, it was this second viewpoint that was the most unusual.

The whole idea was to take people in their everyday setting and look at how differently you could change things simply by using a different viewpoint. We forget (or never knew) what the world looks like from someone else's vantage point until we're literally placed into it. So today I though I would look at how many of those different viewpoints you can use to change the look of your image-making. 

From February's Month of Creativity:
Altitude is the first one and includes everything from a "god's eye" view to an "ant's viewpoint." Think about shooting from ground level up to knee beyond - 10ft above, even thirty feet above. In each of these situations you've got a whole different set of compositional and design options. Don't forget that you can even go below ground level to really change it up.

Scale - shooting details - getting as close as you can. Consider shooting a series of shots that in each step you move 50% closer with each step. See what happens to our sense of the subject as we start to lose our reference points.

Additional methods of changing what happens within the frame: 

Time - how an object changes over time. This could be anything from a decaying object to an organic element that grows and morphs. Think of Nick Nixon's great series on his wife and her sisters - photographing them annually over several decades.

Compositional shape - think of the different energies found in a panoramic shape vs. a square frame. By its nature the square, with it's equal sides, is balanced and calm while a pano has a very dynamic energy as it makes the eye move over its landscape.

Tone or light is a way to direct the eye - try creating a shot where the majority of the image is in darkness and the subject becomes an island of light. Do the opposite, fill the frame with light and sketch the subject with only the slightest change in tonality.

No comments:

Post a Comment