PROJECT _ SHAPES
Shapes are often important elements of photographs in that they can create spaces, directions, focal points, implied meanings, and internal patterns to name but a few possibilities. They can be created intentionally through the considered arrangement of subject elements or by the use of perspective and different lenses, or they can be found by observation or chance. Whereas shapes can be irregular, creating their own infinite number of random simple or complex patterns, there are only three basic regular shapes, namely, rectangles, circles and triangles. Of course, there can be many variations on these basic shapes and this rich diversity can be used in many ways to enhance an image.
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EXERCISE 1. REAL AND IMPLIED TRIANGLES
This shot of my partner, Lynne, seated on rocks on the local coastline was taken from a slightly lower viewpoint which has given the subject a prominent position in the frame silhouetted against the sky. The overall shape of the rock and the human subject is a triangle with the two upward angled sides joining at the main focus, the subject’s head and face. The line of the left leg also draws the eye upwards to the face.
This image of a swimming penguin was taken through the glass side of a penguin pool at Folly Farm leisure park in Pembrokeshire. The obvious triangle created by the wings and body of this penguin lead directly to the head and eye. This focus on the eye is further enhanced by the line of the beak and the lines of the dark plumage either side of the chest.
3. My camera goes with me wherever I go and I am always looking for suitable subjects. When my partner, Lynne, decided to have a go on the ‘Cakewalk’ ride at a local leisure park recently it was an obvious photo opportunity. For this shot I took a low shooting position so that the subject would dominate the frame. The triangle formed by the arms leading up through the shoulders to the top of the head and on to the join in the roof struts is further enhanced by the upward angled lines of the hand rails. The downward diagonal of the row of lights and the facia board leads the eye in and down to meet the hand rail and creates another triangle. In retrospect, I am not sure if this shot represents a real or an implied triangle.
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This part of the exercise required me to take three photographs to demonstrate the following : –
- a still life arrangement producing a triangle with the apex at the top
- another still life arrangement to show a triangle but this time inverted so that the apex is at the bottom
- an arrangement of three people in a group placed in such a way that either their faces or the lines of their bodies make a triangle
This shoot gave me an opportunity to have a play with my new light box. Whilst I am not exactly thrilled by the results and recognise that I have a long way to go to achieve great images, they do show what I was intending. The pattern created by these apples shows a clear triangle or pyramid shape with the base at the bottom and the apex at the top of the frame. I tried placing the apples directly on the ground which gave the subject a sense of solidity but in the end I opted to include a shot of the fruit in a bowl as it seemed to lend an added dimension to the image. The bowl itself is halfway to forming another triangle pointing downwards which in some way balances the triangle created by the fruit.
Here I attempted to arrange the apples and the shooting angle to create a downward pointing triangle with the apex at the bottom of the frame. I believe that it works although the focus is not as crisp as I would like despite using a higher f setting to get greater depth of field.
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3. USING A HUMAN FIGURE TO CREATE AN IMPLIED TRIANGLE I hope I will be forgiven for deviating from the exercise slightly and use the two following images instead of one of 3 people forming a triangle.
3. Having read the course work for Part 2 shortly before going to a summer pizza evening at a friend’s place, I was struck by the obvious implied triangle created when this pizza was being tossed into the air. The point of focus is the pizza which is at the apex of the implied triangle created by the arms and the line of sight is also directed straight at the pizza. The implied triangle creates a sense of upwards direction and energy with the pizza moving up into the empty space left above the main subject. The implied backward continuation of the lines of the arms down to the bottom corners of the frame lend additional height to the pizza subject, and a broad base which gives a sense of stability to the image. I did consider cropping the image to remove the hand and board at the bottom, but I felt that the board provided a counter to the pizza and a sense of solidity to the image as a whole. I have left it as it is but I am still in two minds as to which is the best.
4. AN IMPLIED TRIANGLE WITHIN A FACE
I was captivated by the facial expression of this macaque and although I was unable to completely avoid the mesh being visible despite using a telephoto lens I believe that the image still captures what I wanted. Indeed the inclusion of some element of the wire mesh suggests the fact that this face belongs to a captive animal. There are two triangles in this image, one pointing down and the other pointing up keeping the eye moving around the frame. The implied triangle created by the two eyes and the nose point down to the mouth as does the line of the mesh. The other triangle is the upward pointing swell of the face leading from the outer edges of the mouth up to the bridge of the nose.
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