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Seeing shapes...
Old 09-15-2005, 01:04 AM   #1 (permalink)
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as design, or form from the point of design is so important to the capture. This is in respect to the image I shot of Jacki on the bar, the one that seems to garner so much focus about the eye while so much more of the image is completely passed over. Ironically, few here see what I see, or tend to like most about the image - and even though I shot it - I think it is the most delicious part of the shot. The shape or frame of the shadow that is created by the hat and how the line is so nicely drawn across her perfect cheek accenting her face form. she becomes so private, so intimate, powerful, almost as if she were the DivaZoro herself.

My question... does anyone else see these things? See these forms inside forms? Shapes in shapes?



It is interesting when everyone becomes so caught in the "rules" aspect of photography that another form of creation is completely overlooked. I always follow lines, look at how shapes move in and out of each other, especially the shape of the shadows. I use the shapes to form a frame or marquis to announce other dynamics in that composition. If you look at a car, see the whole car, the details really don't matter - but - if you are a freak for details in design, you start to see how vents, hood lines, shapes of fenders, etc. all play to make the car beautiful. This is the exact same approach to certain images.

In this image I love the elliptical shapes created by the form of the hat moving over Jacki's face, first covering one eye - but we see the top of the brim - over the other eye forming a wonderful shape that ANNOUNCES that beautiful eye peering out from under the brim. Then the line moves on helping to form her dynamic cheek and brow shape, elliptically back over her ear where it picks up another ellipse of hair sweeping now downward, framing the back side of her face and the great line of her jaw (my fave)... etc. Someone could say "I don't like it because I can't see both eyes," when in fact that is what makes the image and design of lines created by the geometry itself so interesting - if we could see both eyes then the hat and all form/shape become moot.



And finally in this shot the elliptical shape created from the angle of her face, the hat climbing back upward over her angled eye and brow, and the sweeping circular motion of her hair framing the back side of her jaw and face. These are shapes and forms that I see through the viewfinder without really looking, they are there and they are mine to notice, but it is all dependent upon angles and design within the composition - posturing. Seeing what is there is very important, and of course the eyes are extremely important, but that isn't what an image is always about. Helmut Newton always gave us just enough of something to drive the viewer into looking at the image at an angle so maybe we could see past a hem or the edge of a page.



And then there is the story... something that comes with the entire composition or maybe just a suggestion of a composition. Really cheating... making the viewer work to realize what is being presented. As here where the elements were creating the composition, I just had to be ready to take advantage of the moment. The real design is in the shape of the shadow forming on the crumpled fabric in alignment with her form and the horizon... all working at that moment in harmony. Was it right? Who knows, at that moment it was what it was and it was seen for just that instant - I waited to for that instant to happen though, I was in no hurry.



What's my point? Don't just shoot what you see, see what you are shooting! I say this and I live by this... and I am not very good at it by comparison to many great photographers, but I know enough that design is the most important aspect to the composition itself. Back to that one simple point, although Jacki's eye is somewhat mysteriously hidden in a shadow, it is also extremely well framed in its own space, a design that is perfect simply because the shapes that surround her eye are perfect.

See the designs, see the shapes, see the form of what is being composed by both the model [subject] and the light... how the light falls on the form.

Robert

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Seeing form..
Old 09-15-2005, 01:26 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Robert,

Hey bud, you hit some good points and how can you go wrong with someone like Jacki?

What most people don't realize is a key word you pointed out, "form." A great example of form and as you say shapes, is the famous bell pepper by Edward Weston--a simple bell pepper.

In my book, shape and form go together. I like your slogan too and might add, from a photojournalistic perspective, previsualize what you want to see and you'll see what you want to shoot. Previsualization is very important in my book as if you approach a shoot without previsualization you basically show up clueless.

Enough for now, back to my writing, hope to see you in the Hensel booth at Photo Plus Expo, talk soon, rg sends!
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Re: Seeing shapes...
Old 09-15-2005, 05:44 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I enjoyed reading this post Robert and it was very educational for me.
I know when I like a photograph and when I don't, but often I am unable to decide why I like it. I read so much about various rules of composition etc. and yet I often see photos that blatantly break the rules and I still like them. Reading your post makes me realise some of that is probably about shape and form within the image, but I still struggle to analyse those shapes with the clarity you do.

We probably all subconsciously analyse shape and form when taking pictures. I have a number of images in my own collection that I like despite the fact that they clearly break some apparent rules. I now intend to look back over them and consider in more depth the shapes and forms within the images and maybe learn to make that a more conscious effort when I press the button in future. Maybe the next time I break the rules I will know why!

Thanks for the lesson!

Here's one of mine that I like despite the awkward crop of her legs. Still don't understand why yet, but I'll get there.

Model is Jodie Maguire and the image is from the full 35mm frame without cropping.

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Glad you splained that...
Old 09-15-2005, 09:26 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Cuz I see the exact same shapes-which is why I love this pic. I don't understand why people can't just ask why you did what you did instead of feeling like telling you that it should have been done in another way, or that it is technically wrong in some way. I wouldn't change a thing and you explained your intent perfectly. I just hope people listen and try to understand more before they rip something like this apart because it's different.


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Seeing Colors
Old 09-15-2005, 10:08 AM   #5 (permalink)
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nice mini-discertation. i'm gonna write one called "i see colors." oh, wait, that's for "Hight Times" magazine. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/cool.gif[/img]
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Pre-Visualization vs. Shooting From the Hip
Old 09-15-2005, 10:18 AM   #6 (permalink)
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[ QUOTE ]
if you approach a shoot without previsualization you basically show up clueless.

[/ QUOTE ]

i gotta disagree with that. i think it depends on what you hope to accomplish. certainly, pre-visualization is important for those shoots where you intend to capture a very specific kind of image or you're going to capture an image that should contain certain elements or one that you intend to convey a certain emotion or whatever. but there's been many images i've captured where spontaneity was the catalyst for a great shot. with a product ad, for instance, i would certainly pre-visualize the image. in fact, i might even sketch it (sort of like one-frame from a story board for a motion picture.) but other times, "shooting from the hip" has delivered some of my best images.
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Re: Pre-Visualization vs. Shooting From the Hip
Old 09-15-2005, 11:59 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I don´t like the first shot. The shadow is to hard. Shot 2-4 are pretty good.
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Re: Seeing shapes...
Old 09-15-2005, 12:27 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I, in fact, do see what you are talking about. In the second one, the shape of the hat over the eyes is especially noticeable to me. This is the type of thing I've been trying to accomplish with my leg and torso work, playing with how a pair of legs and their shape can frame or dut through the rest of the photo. That's why I generally don't give much concern about if the tip of a shoe is cropped a little, or a hand goes a little out of frame, it's not about the parts themselves, but more the abstract...at least that's what I'm trying to acheive. Whether I do or not....maybe you can say?

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