Monday, 17 January 2011

Part 2 - Elements of Design. Points

Exercise - Positioning a point - 3 photographs

The purpose of this exercise is to experiment with positioning a single point in an image and examine its relationship with the frame. How this then effects the division of an image and also the sense of movement it creates should be considered.

As instructed in preparation for these exercises I jotted down a few situations that spring to mind that would qualify as a photograph of a  point.
  • single tree/animal in a field or prairie or bird in the sky
  • single person a wide open beach
  • small architectural detail on a building
  • coke can rusting on a shingle beach  - or shell amongst smooth pebbles
  • single car or supermarket trolley in a large otherwise empty car park
  • single windsurfer/boat at sea or bird in the sky
  • night street scene empty except for a single pool of light
  • small centre point of a flower
  • close up pupil/iris of an eye
The next few images show the positioning of a point in the frame and discusses them in more detail.

Image 1

 In this image of a seagull there is no doubt that the bird is the main point of interest and it is placed on the upper outer third of the frame. As the bird is looking into the frame your eye is drawn away from the edge of the picture and there is a sense of movement towards the centre of the image.

Is the bird too large in the frame to qualify as a point? According to the course notes "for a subject to qualify as a point it has to be small in the frame, and contrast, in some way, with its surroundings."  The bird certainly contrasts with its surroundings and is isolated enough, however it is not particularly small.

When does something relatively small in an image become too large to be classed as a point? Surely that's not something that can be defined as a percentage or area covered, it has to be assessed on an individual basis by how strongly the subject grabs your attention.

Image 2

 This might be another controversial image in representing a point. "Point" to me suggest a single subject creating the focal point and in this image there are clearly two people standing on the sea wall. Again their position complies to the "rule of thirds" vertically and I think the fact they have their backs to the camera adds interest to the image. Are you wondering what is over there?

I think in this case that because the people in the image are so small in the frame and there is no discernible space between them they qualify as a point.

Image 3 & 4

Both of these images have a single point entering the frame from left to right bringing a sense of movement to the image. Although the "point " in each image is placed in the upper third of the image horizontally and the left hand third of the image vertically, they appear quite different due to the scale. 

Although finding examples of a single point for an image isn't difficult, I have found that I am naturally placing the point as per the "rule of thirds". Although this is acceptable as part of these exercises sticking to these rules consistently will lead to some very predictable images. In order to improve as a photographer I need to know these rules but remember it's ok to challenge them occasionally.

1 comment:

  1. I don't think the bird is too large in the frame. It occupies 1/30th at most and I don't think that a smidge over 3% could be classed as large ;-)