Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Supporting Cast

In most cases the subject of your photo is considered to be using the positive space in your image. Anything that is NOT part of the subject is considered to be negative space.

Most beginning photographers only concentrate on the subject itself, and that can be a problem. The photograph shown here was taken in front of an apartment complex. If a dog walked by or a car had been parked in the background, it would not have had the same visual impact as what you see here.

In most movies the subject of the story line is the main actor or actress. But more often than not, what makes their performance memorable is the interaction with the other actors (the supporting cast).

We as photographers MUST consider the negative space in our images as the supporting cast. If it does not add to or support the subject, then GET RID OF IT!! Crop it tighter, change your angle or direction, but do not ignore it.

People may be attracted by a big name actor (or your subject) but if the supporting cast (or your negative space) doesn't do their (or it's) part, people will loose interest.

The Art of the Craft

My Mother has been a Potter for over 30 years. She prefers hand built pottery to anything created on the potter's wheel. She considers herself an Artist as opposed to a Craftsman. By her definition an Artist creates something that is unique, wherein a Craftsman (no matter how talented) creates something that can be produced again and again.

By her definition, I suppose all photographers are Craftsman, yet being a rebellious son I tend to dispute her definition. When we (as photographers) capture a moment in time, it often can not be duplicated. Therefore photojournalist MUST be artists, right?

When we (as photographers) capture an expression or mood there is no guarantee that our subject will ever feel exactly the same way again. Therefore portrait photographers MUST be artists, right?

When we (as photographers) capture a prospective or angle in nature that most others walk by, we influence how others view the world. Not something you can do everyday. Therefore landscape photographers MUST be artists, right?

My definition varies a bit from my mothers. An Artists makes something unique by putting themselves into the finish product. A GOOD craftsman is always an artist, those that are not deal with mass production and have no emotional tie to their work.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Non Traditional Portrait.

The old cliché that says: "smile and look at the camera" is not always the best way to take a portrait. In fact, many informal or candid portraits don't have the subject looking at the camera at all. The idea behind taking a portrait verses just another snap shot is to clarify, intensify, or otherwise enlarge our experience of life. Your goal is to capture the emotional statement that your subject or subjects are projecting.

In this picture, there is no smile and the subject is not looking at the camera, but is it a successful picture? I think so. You feel a mood or expression. It may be weariness or boredom, but their is still something that the viewer can relate to. Think of people at work or play involved in what matters the most to them at the time. A mechanic working on a car, a dancer stretching before the performance, a bull rider strapping himself in; can all be perfect times to capture that perfect moment.

I've contemplated the idea that 1 month I should have a non traditional portrait contest. Rules would include not in a traditional background, not in a traditional pose, and the subject is NOT looking at the camera.
Let me hear your thoughts on this idea.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Any Big Ape

As this cover indicates, any big ape can take a picture; but that doesn't mean they are really a photographer. As you may have guessed from this blog, or the hundred + photo articles I have written in the past, I also enjoy writing (although rarely have I ever been paid for it.)

Tradition says to write about what you know. I have in mind to write a story about a man and a woman, he being a photographer, she being the writer. Together they have to solve something (yet to be determined); and he will teach her how to visualize, while she teaches him to express his feelings in words. Expected to be of the romantic mystery type genre.

The reason I post this here is to get feedback on examples of how you teach others to visualize, or . . . how you would describe what you go through when you are looking for that perfect image. As I want this to go book length, I am looking for multiple perspectives and things that can be taught through out the story line.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Clyde Brown's work shown on TV

The TV show "Twin Cities Live" recently asked for photos taken around the Minnesota area that they would have a professional photographer who works for National Geographic critique their photo on the air. Out of who knows how many sent in, they only chose 2 and Clyde Brown's Photo "Stone Arch Bridge" first seen on our site as a contest winner back in March 2008 was one of those lucky winners. You can see the video clip here; but be aware Clyde's photo is not mentioned until the last minute of the clip.