Thursday, 25 October 2012

People and Place Musings

Most photographers know (and some take for granted) that people - singular or plural - make for interesting subject matter. However, recently I have been questioning why this is, partially in order to help me with the fifth assignment. I've come to the conclusion the main underlying cause is the intricacy of their features and the consequent uniqueness of each person because of this.

   The first intricate feature (or set of features) that springs to mind is the human face. This is
justified as it is the defining feature of the human body. There are other distinguishing parts though such as the hands or body posture.

   Another thing that makes people an attractive subject for many photographers is that they are malleable in terms of the amount of space they take up in the frame. This could range from a tiny figure in a massively scaled building or the person's eyes filling the frame. This would be possible potentially using just one zoom lens at the minimum. In this sense in some ways they are the ideally-sized subject for a photographer - more specifically for normal-ranging focal lengths.

   Places I found were for me a lot less compromising- they were either of huge proportions with viewpoints where a lot of the objects within the vicinity potentially got in the way and were immovable, whichever viewpoint you chose. The other extreme was where they were too confined - only a couple of interesting or informing viewpoints were on offer and even more frequently objects would be within the space getting in the way (although these could sometimes be moved around). In between these two extremes was of course, a mid-sized space but I'd found, quite frustratingly, they tended to be spaces that required permission to photograph in. This included libraries, certain museums, shops and certain public spaces where photography was just prohibited.

   People and place together I had discovered were challenging (for me at least) to convey in an interesting way but I thought perseverance was key here in that sometimes you just had to be patient or assertive in order to get the shot you were looking for. An example of this would be choosing an angle that showed off the people's faces rather than just the backs of their heads, which consequently and inadvertently gave a sometimes unusual viewpoint. I have learnt that these viewpoints often are more desirable than 'standard' viewpoints if you were trying to convey something in your photograph.

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