Friday, December 19, 2014

Looking at Photographs II

Return to the photographs you looked at the first time around, in Looking at Photographs I.

You've got a little more experience with the basic three settings, so you may want to re-evaluate some of these pictures a bit. There's also the new element of camera position to consider, as well as overall exposure.

For each picture ask yourself:
  • Roughly what shutter speed, aperture, and ISO might have been used?
  • Where was the camera relative to the items we can see in the frame?
  • What kind of exposure is it? About "just right" or is it lighter or darker than that?

Make notes as you go.

Now ask yourself these questions about each picture:
  • What was the photographer trying to do? Just document something, create a feeling, make a beautiful picture, sell a product, etc..
  • Did the photographer succeed?
  • How do you feel about the picture?

For instance an advertisement might contain a photograph of a model in a beautiful home. Perhaps the photographer was trying to create a feeling of wealth and luxury. A paparazzi shot might be trying to make a movie star look tawdry or sneaky or fat. A press photo of a politician or CEO might be trying to convey trustworthiness, or the opposite.

Many photos we see in the news might simply be documenting a thing which happened, or which is, but I think you will find a surprising number of even these express a fairly clear viewpoint.

Finally, try to make a connection between the feeling, the idea, of the photograph, and the technical details you noted in the first set of questions.

This is not always obvious. If you can make even a couple of connections you feel good about, at this point, be proud of yourself.

As always, make notes. Write a little bit about any connections you've noted. Perhaps the low camera position made someone look taller and more powerful. Write that down.

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