Friday, May 9, 2014

Perspective & Photo Challenge

The Art of photography is just as much a challenge as the Skill of photography. Photography hangs in a strange world, a balance between the vision of the artist and the abilities of the equipment. This is another post about the Art of photography. (You can read my last post about the art of photography here.)

Little bug, big world
One of the struggles of artistic photography is to produce images that are more than just physical documentations of the subject. Sometimes this seems easy, but other times it can be more difficult. This begs the question:

How can I push myself to produce more artistic images?

There are, of course, many answers to this question. One thing I would suggest would be to determine what your goals as a photographer are. What are you trying to convey to the viewer? Are you trying to persuade them, amaze them, terrify them? Or are you trying to capture abstract emotions, melancholy, love, peace? It's up to you, but there's very little chance of achieving your goal if you don't have a clear idea of what it is.

So, besides having a "mission statement" for my work, what else can I do?

Photography is, of course, a visual art. Ergo you must force yourself to produce visually unique and captivating images - you will not be able to achieve your goal if no one wants to look at your work. 

Do this exercise.

I've mentioned this somewhere before, but a great trick to force yourself to expand your visual horizons is to constrain your subject matter. What does that mean? Simple: make yourself take 10 (or 5, or 15, or 20) different images of the same subject.

Dramatic backside view
Challenge yourself to think of different "themes" for each shot, and push yourself to demonstrate different aspects of your subject in each frame. This brief series I've done involves a Reduviid nymph (I believe it is a Wheel Bug but I cannot confirm this). Each picture is distinct in evoking emotion in the viewer, although they were all shot on the same morning, at the same location, of the same insect.

Detailed side view
When I look at these images together, they form a story (for me) about the Wheel Bug nymph. It's small, but is a ferocious predator (look at that vicious proboscis!), and is patterned beautifully. Other people probably look at them and think, "gross, that looks terrifying, why would anyone go near that thing???"

Well, to each her own. If you aren't that person alluded to above, you may want to check out my post on insect photography here.

What do you think about this challenge? Are you going to try it weekend? (If you do and  you upload your photos somewhere, feel free to leave a link in the comments. I'd love to see!)

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