There are essentially three classes of position [to place a single point]: in the middle, a little off-centre, and close to the edge. (Photography 1: The Art of Photography, p72)
Part One : From that moment onwards…
Project 2 : Visual Skills
The section is all about composition.
Noun: composition 1. The spatial property resulting from the arrangement of parts in relation to each other and to the whole. (WordWeb: English dictionary, thesaurus, and word finder software. 2016. WordWeb: English dictionary, thesaurus, and word finder software. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.wordweb.info. [Accessed 13 March 2016].)
Exercise 1.2 Point
Task 1: Take 2 or 3 photographs in which a single point is placed in different parts of the frame. (A point should be small in relationship to the frame; if it’s too large it becomes a shape.)
Task 2: Take a number of images in which a point is placed in relationship to the frame.
With this exercise I wanted to ensure the background was plain and that I used a ‘point’ which would stand out and could be easily moved to enable a quick and easy change in composition. As a result, I used the diffuser part of my reflector kit as the background which I placed on the floor, and I used a small red button as my ‘point’. I set my tripod up to eye level, so I could angle my camera downwards to observe the point from above. This meant I had a controlled position from which to take each photograph to ensure a consistent approach.
Results – Task 1:
Findings – Task 1:
In each of the above photographs; the background is light, the point is red and easy to see but this does not tell you where the point is…
It is very difficult to evaluate just a point in a photograph without using some ‘point of reference’. So naturally the frame would be used as the reference and where the point ‘is’ would be considered in relation to this e.g. a central point in a rectangular frame is equal in distance from each of the sides of the frame but also equal in distance from the top and bottom of the frame. For a point off-centre we would probably also need to use directional instructions such as left and right e.g. the point close to the frame is in the bottom right hand corner of the frame but is closer to the bottom of the frame than it is to the right hand side of the frame. Obviously, you could be more specific about the point’s location by using measurements. There is no right or wrong place for a point to be unless there is a reason for it being there.
However, you could also evaluate each of the points position using a more subjective point of reference if you consider ‘why’ it is there, for example:
A central point (assertive positioning) immediately has a direct connection with the viewer, it has presence and could appear to command attention. It is not engaging with anything else within the frame or with any specific part of the frame so could be wanting to engage with the viewer, in a 3D sense. However, it could also convey isolation or loneliness as it is not interacting with anything else within its plane.
If this was not just a ‘point’ but instead, say a fly, to give some context, I would agree that there is still a direct connection with the viewer, one fly/one viewer, and yes the fly appears isolated due to its relationship within the frame but would we consider it lonely? As we do not know how a fly feels we would not necessarily interpret the fly as being lonely as I think where feelings are concerned that probably translates better to human subjects, that said, the isolation itself could be read as loneliness.
A point close to the edge (passive positioning) feels connected to the part of the frame it is close to, more than with the viewer due to its relative perceived proximity 2D/3D. However, it is also distant from the other side of the frame so could convey apprehension or fear of the far-side frame, maybe an intention to escape off frame or fall off. It could also convey an attraction towards the part of the frame it is close to.
Again if we used a fly positioned on this ‘point’, how might this be interpreted? Depending on which way the fly was facing we might think it is heading away bottom right or could be heading towards top left. This could give very different interpretations and probably adds more complexity than this exercise warrants but it also adds an interesting additional consideration which I’m sure will be covered in a later chapter, the perceived intention of a subject.
A point a little off centre (neutral positioning) conveys a more observatory position and I do not think there is necessarily a will to engage with the viewer or not. It is not wanting to be ‘centre of attention’ or a ‘wall flower’. Again if it was a fly, I would think it is just having a rest.
Reflection – Task 1:
This task of Exercise 1.2 was more difficult than I thought it would be. Taking the photographs was actually the easiest bit. I have never considered a point on a page before and just taking the time to consider something as simple as this has stretched my thought processes a great deal.
I can see that to have a reason for something being where it is gives meaning as to why it is there and instead of ‘just talking photographs’ having an intent of what you want to convey in the photograph in advance helps with composition.
Michael Langford, 2010. Langford’s Basic Photography: The Guide for Serious Photographers. 9th Edition. Focal Press.
WordWeb: English dictionary, thesaurus, and word finder software. 2016. WordWeb: English dictionary, thesaurus, and word finder software. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.wordweb.info. [Accessed 13 March 2016].
This completes my submission for task 1 of Exercise 1.2. I will put a link to task 2 of Exercise 1.2 here when it has been posted.