Photography – A Beginner’s Guide – Landscape Photography [Marc Adamus] – An article by Goff James

Welcome followers and visitors to my blog and another update in my photography Beginner’s Guide to Photography.

This week I will be talking about Landscape Photography and looking at an image by Marc Adamus.

As I have stated in previous articles one can learn so much about photography by looking at; and, talking about other photographers’ work.

Landscape Photography may be defined as;

  • portraying spaces within the world, that can be both panoramic as well as being microscopic.
  • attempting to capture the presence of nature but can also focus on man-made urban-space or disturbances of landscapes.
  • possessing both a reflective and deductive process,
  • recalling observations or experiences
  • making a connection with the viewer through a purposeful detailed pictorial narrative that preserves a single moment in time,
  • making choices as to what to include or exclude, bringing ones own personal perspective to a particular scene and best represents ones creative vision.
  • sharing the emotional connections that come with the created image.
  • reminding one of the connections between individuals and the land whether it be the natural or the urban landscape devoid of human interference or as the result of human intervention.

Many landscape photographs show little or no human activity and are created in the pursuit of a pure, unsullied depiction of nature, devoid of human influence—instead featuring subjects such as strongly defined landforms, weather, and ambient light.[1][2]

[1] Ellement, Brad (U.K.) “Featured Artist: Brad Ellement”, Landscape Photography Magazine, 2014 Edition (“The Big Free Edition”), p.56

[2] Mary Warner Marien (2006). Photography: A Cultural History. Laurence King Publishing. Page 136.

As with most forms of art, the definition of a landscape photograph is broad and may include rural or urban settings, industrial areas or nature photography.[3][4]

[3] Waite, Charlie with interviewer Keith Wilson, “In Conversation… Charlie Waite”, Landscape Photography Magazine, 2014 Edition(“The Big Free Edition”), p.120

[4] Purdue Univ., “Nature and Landscape Photography”, from ”Visualizing Nature: Promoting Public Understanding and Appreciation of Nature, [Department of] Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, retrieved October 4, 2015.

http://carterlandscapephotography.com.au/what-is-landscape-photography/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Landscape_photography

Screen Shot 2017-11-23 at 17.19.26
Marc Adamus, Forever Dreaming /Edge of the Sea, Olympic Nations Park, Washington
2007

Compositionally the image presents an ocean view imbued with the diffused low key natural lighting of the setting sun. A very long exposure at twilight picks up the surreal colours and the beauty of the seascape.

The image captures the very essence and spirit of place through the light and atmospheric qualities that imbues the work and is possessed with the sense of the powerful epic majesty that is both ethereal and sublime.

The perspective with its many leading lines from the bottom of the frame that lead to the central distant vanishing point, draws the viewer directly into the image.

This instigates an engagement and dialogue with both the photographer and the experience of that which has been observed and photographed.

The work’s backdrop constitutes the sky with its back lighting and the mountains and divided by the horizon which rest at the horizontal intersection of the top third of the image.

The remaining horizontal two thirds is made up of the converging rocky runnels and the ocean with its misted reflections of the sky.

The image with its blending of depth of field and exposure, clarity, classical structure and sense of symmetry is filled with visual drama and artistry that captures the atmospheric mood of the open natural landscape – a remaking of reality.

The image demands attention and the viewer is drawn ever more deeply into the composition by some unseen subliminal force. The work is filled with visual passion that appears to reflect the photographer’s own interests.

It’s not about where you are, but how you see”.

Marc Adamus

All these varied attributes are accentuated through the work reflecting a sense of magical energy.

The work explores the varying possibilities of structure, power, beauty, mood, light, colour, tonal range, texture that lie within the landscape “en plain air”.

The viewer is drawn into the image and becomes emotionally engaged with it through what the photographer refers to as:

This is nature through my eyes”.

Marc Adamus

The wide-angled image is endowed with a sense of the dramatic, a panorama filled with what the photographer terms his attachment and interaction with a particular landscape.

The image displays a specific thought provoking narrative which concern the conflict between virgin landscape and man’s intervention and influence upon it.

The work’s backdrop constitutes the sky with its back lighting and the mountains and divided by the horizon which rest at the horizontal intersection of the top third of the image.

The remaining horizontal two thirds is made up of the converging rocky runnels and the ocean with its misted reflections of the sky.

The image with its blending of depth of field and exposure, clarity, classical structure and sense of symmetry is filled with visual drama and artistry that captures the atmospheric mood of the open natural landscape – a remaking of reality.

The image demands attention and the viewer is drawn ever more deeply into the composition by some unseen subliminal force. The work is filled with visual passion that appears to reflect the photographer’s own interests.

All these varied attributes are accentuated through the work reflecting a sense of magical energy.

The work explores the varying possibilities of structure, power, beauty, mood, light, colour, tonal range, texture that lie within the landscape “en plain air”.

The wide-angled image is endowed with a sense of the dramatic, a panorama filled with what the photographer terms his attachment and interaction with a particular landscape.

The image displays a specific thought provoking narrative which concern the conflict between virgin landscape and man’s intervention and influence upon it.

The image demands attention and the viewer is drawn ever more deeply into the composition by some unseen subliminal force.

The image evokes an emotional response, communicates a sense of artistic creativity and through the narrative engages the viewer’s senses.

It presents the genre of landscape photography as relevant, exciting and means to instigate both social and political debate with regard to the loss of natural landscape globally.

… a great photograph is not merely documenting the scene at hand, rather it is about fusing the essential vision of the artist with the landscape.

Marc Adamus

The meticulous attention to detail and refinement within the work through the editing process – optimizing and adjusting contrasts, colours, tonalities and luminosity present the viewer with a visual experience and emotional connection that appears to be one of actually being present within the image.

I trust that you find some of these ideas useful within the context of your own photography. Don’t be afraid to experiment and allow different ideas to develop as you go along.

Remember what I referred to in previous articles about taking photos and creating photograms; the same applies to considering your own photos, other photographers’ work as well as applying different artist’s ideas too.

Don’t be afraid to experiment.

Experiment! Experiment! Experiment!

Remember there are no right or wrong answers or ways of doing it.

Your photographs are your world.

You can do what you like. 

Don’t worry about the theory and trying to remember everything about how to take or consider how to look at or stage a photograph.

Don’t worry about what you might think is right or wrong in talking about or taking photographs.

 Make mistakes. Laugh. Have funJust enjoy the process.

Happy Photography. 

Thank you for your visit.

goffjamesart.wordpress.com

Art Photography Poetry

Reference List

http://www.marcadamus.com

https://www.outdoorphotographer.com/on-location/featured-stories/next-generation-landscapes/

Photography – A Beginner’s Guide – Street Photography [Henri Cartier-Bresson] – An article by Goff James

Welcome followers and visitors to my blog and another update in my photography Beginner’s Guide to Photography.

This week I will be talking about Street Photography and looking at an image by Henri Cartier-Bresson.

As I have stated in previous articles one can learn so much about photography by looking at; and, talking about other photographers’ work.

Street Photography may be defined as;

  • featuring subjects in candid situations featuring unmediated chance encounters and random incidents within public spaces. [1]
  • not necessitating either the presence of any urban environ or any human presence within it. It can be of an object or environment where the image projects a decidedly human character in facsimile or aesthetic.[2][page needed][3]
  • reflecting society as it manifests itself and non-manipulated where the subjects are unaware of the photographer’s presence. The photographer, in a sense, can be viewed as an extension of the flâneur – a casual street observer.
  • being ironic, amusing and be distanced from the subject matter. It frequently focuses upon a single human action captured at a decisive or poignant moment. The vocabulary of street photography is subtlety with no inherent premeditated message.
  • providing a very literal and extreme rendition of the subject and provide a more unfamiliar visceral experience beyond the personal experience of the viewer.
  • being able to document a particular scenario and defined by its very candidness.

being aloof and impartial in the nature of any particular activity delivering a true depiction of that which is being observed.

1.Warner Marien, Mary (2012). 100 ideas that changed photography. London: Laurence King Publishing. p. 169. ISBN 978-1-85669-793-4.

2.Colin Westerbeck. Bystander: A History of Street Photography. 1st ed. Little, Brown and Company, 1994.

3.”Archived copy”. Archived from the original on 2015-04-22. Retrieved 2015-04-21.

http://www.urbanpicnic-streetphotography.com/what-is-street-photography/https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Street_photography

Screen Shot 2017-11-24 at 17.50.56
Henri Cartier-Bresson, The Var department. Hyères.
1932

The Var department. Hyères.

Created: 1932 Printed Later/ Date Unstated

Medium: gelatin silver print on paper

Dimensions: 196 x 291 mm

https://www.phototraces.com/creative-photography/famous-street-photographers/

From a compositional perspective a black railing runs across the image horizontally, beginning at the left side of the frame and gradually twisting around and spirals downwards along a steep stone staircase in towards the centre of the scene.

A black and white composition comprising of different monochromatic hues, geometric shapes and patterns which infuses the image with form and life.

The image is taken from a high vantage point, looking down towards the street, and the stairway in the middle moves from the foreground through to the background of the image as it leads down to the road below.

This road curves in a wide arc across the top portion of the photograph and a black-clad figure can be seen riding a bicycle along it in the upper left corner of the scene.

The image combines architectural elements that suggest movement through their spirals and curves, and the manner in which they lead down to the moving figure of the cyclist.

The photo possesses an excellent depth of fieldIt was probably taken using a tripod with the camera on large aperture and fast exposure settings.

The image combines architectural elements that suggest movement through their spirals and curves, and the manner in which they lead down to the moving figure of the cyclist. It was probably taken using a tripod with the camera on large aperture and fast exposure settings.


The photograph reflects the concept of the ‘fixed-explosive’. That which Clément Chéroux described as:

“… the state of something simultaneously in motion and at rest …”

This notion of movement that ignite lines into motion and energises compositions is clearly present within the image.

The manner in which the image has been framed, composed and its cyclical rhythm create a sense of motion and dynamism.

The composition possesses at one and the same time a sense of the varying tensions between motion and being at rest.

The appeal of the image lies in the way the  skill of HC-B has captured and frozen a very precise decisive moment in time and action and created a ‘photographic narrative that anticipates a social happening just before the moment happens.

The appeal of the image lies in the way the  skill of HC-B has captured and frozen a very precise decisive moment in time and action and created a ‘photographic narrative that anticipates a social happening just before the moment happens.


The image possesses a narrative that requires as  Cartier-Bresson 1952 stated:

… a joint collaboration between viewer’s brain, eye and emotion. In so doing the viewer is enabled to perceive the image and its content and interpret the content through the process of unfolding, and to communicate impressions.

The composition depicts the isolated moment at which the speeding cyclist is framed by the surrounding solid architecture enhancing the dynamism and enhanced even further by the stationary yet curving progression of the stairway.

The image is taken from the high viewpoint of the descending stone steps and implicates the photographer within the narrative  as well as drawing the viewer into the image through the curving leading lines of the stairway and kerbstones.

Cartier-Bresson is also broadly known for the artistic term “The Decisive Moment,” which states that if you are able to see the moment, then you most likely won’t capture it.

Photographers have to learn to anticipate social happenings in order to fully capture “The Decisive Moment.” In other words, the term practically invites photographers to develop the ability to press the shutter button just before the moment happens.

I trust that you find some of these ideas useful within the context of your own photography. Don’t be afraid to experiment and allow different ideas to develop as you go along.

Remember what I referred to in previous articles about taking photos and creating photograms; the same applies to considering your own photos, other photographers’ work as well as applying different artist’s ideas too.

Don’t be afraid to experiment.

Experiment! Experiment! Experiment!

Remember there are no right or wrong answers or ways of doing it.

Your photographs are your world.

You can do what you like. 

Don’t worry about the theory and trying to remember everything about how to take or consider how to look at or stage a photograph.

Don’t worry about what you might think is right or wrong in talking about or taking photographs.

 Make mistakes. Laugh. Have funJust enjoy the process.

Happy Photography. 

Thank you for your visit.

goffjamesart.wordpress.com

Art Photography Poetry

Reference List

https://www.phototraces.com/creative-photography/famous-street-photographers/

http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/cartier-bresson-hyeres-france-p13112

https://www.moma.org/collection/works/44586

https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/286639

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/3656798/The-Leica-Leonardo.html

https://curiator.com/art/henri-cartier-bresson/france-the-var-department-hyeres-1932

http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/cartier-bresson-hyeres-france-p13112

Photography – A Beginner’s Guide – Documentary Photography [Altaf Qadari] – An article by Goff James

Welcome followers and visitors to my blog and another update in my photography Beginner’s Guide to Photography.

This week I will be, again, talking about Documentary Photography and looking at an image by Altaf Qadari.

One can learn so much about photography by looking at; and, talking about other photograpgers’ work.

Documentary Photography may be defined as;

  • using pictures or interviews with people involved in real events to provide a factual report on a particular subject.

https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/documentary

  • a style of photography that provides a straightforward and accurate representation of people, places, objects and events, and is often used in reportage.

http://www.tate.org.uk/art/art-terms/d/documentary-photography

  • as following a single topic or story in-depth over time, as opposed to photojournalism’s real-time coverage of breaking news and events.
    • As deepening understanding and emotional connection to stories of injustice, and capturing and sustaining public attention with regard to pressing social and human rights issues.

    https://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/explainers/documentary-photography-open-society

    School For Less Fortunate
    Altaf Qadari, School for the Less Fortunate, (1/10), 2012

    https://www.friedaward.com/index.php/winners/winners-2015/school-for-the-less-fortunate

    This imageI I have selected this week is a work by Altaf Qadari  entitled:

    School for the Less Fortunate, (1/10), created 2012,

    Compositionally the image presents a scene of absolute dereliction and poverty set beneath the ramparts of some unstated shattered and crumbling edifice that is almost subterranean which accents the living hell the three main subjects find themselves in.

    The apparent motorway overpass held up by its squat Greek pseudo doric columns support a massively weighted concrete lintel which accentuates the subjects claustrophobic suppression.

    Set against the dilapidated depressing back wall and the surrounding filth and grime the composition rotates around the three children and their individual roles within the image.

    The children act as a leading line into the composition and create a diagonal from frame bottom left stretching to top of frame right that leads the viewers eye directly into the heart of the image.

    The child seated on the ground communicates both a reflexive defensiveness with his body turned inward and away from the viewer that exposes his personal vulnerability.

    The child who stands centre framed, torso bent, head tilted downwards facing the ground and turned slightly sideways away from the camera is captured in a less submissive stance and possesses an air of some dignified resignation and defiance to his plight.

    The third child in his elevated position stands on the collapsed concrete wall looking directly and provocatively outwards from the image towards the photographer and the viewer.

    The child’s pose echoes the pose of the second child but his stance is much more confrontational, direct and questioning regarding the circumstances of the dire poverty in which all three find themselves.

    The diagonal line which all three are adhered to, to some extent, is countered balanced by the line of the horizontal concrete slab and bricks that travel from middle of the frame right to middle of the frame left and which passes behind the central subject’s torso anchoring his pivotal role within the composition.

    The photographer has captured his portrait with a crispness of clarity that indicates a very shallow depth of field. Everything else within the image rotates around this key point.

    Apart from this central oasis of clarity the remainder of the image is blurred to a greater or lesser degree. Yet paradoxically this is not the main focus of attention.

    That, even though not defined with the same sense of preciseness as the second subject, belongs to the the child with the penetrating stare and whose position is accentuated by the lighting which enters the concrete cavern from the right of the frame.

    The subject is highlighted, even through the blurriness, by the manner in which the the split lighting of his face and the pool of light that floods his upper torso.

    This is further reinforced by the sharp vertical line that travels upwards from the bottom of the frame where he appears to stand like a statue upon a plinth.

    The lighting becomes increasingly dimmed and diffused from right of frame to left left of frame.

    The image captures the dirt and despair of their particular plight. Each child is held within their own space highlighting their isolation and vulnerability within the society in which they find themselves – outcasts.

    However their very individual actions through the process of actively cleaning this ghetto and removing some of the squalor indicates a pride, dignity and sense of self esteem.

    As the viewer scans the image one is drawn ever more into the  deep and complex narrative which reveals itself through its numerous and varied detailing.

    If one views the image from the bottom it reveals the rule of thirds and dictates how the image is laid out.

    The seated child on the left, part of the dirt floor and rubble and the lower legs of the central subject form the Lowe third.

    The central horizontal third is accommodated by the form of the centrally positioned child, the bags, floor and remainder of the pile of rubble and the the lower legs of the third subject.

    The top third is occupied by the mass of the structure, pillars and the outward facing boy.

    If one views the image from left frame to right frame the rule of thirds is reinforced. The left side third constitutes the pillar, concrete slabs and the rubble.

    The central vertical third contains the the boy facing outwards, the central subject and half the central pillar.

    Within the remaining third the seated child, bags and chair are positioned.

    The individual actions of the children provide the image with a sense of rhythmic movement within the composition. 

    Whilst the subtle changing monochromatic tones and the sharp contrast between the light areas and the shadows act as a counterpoint to the overall muted grey colouration of the image.

    Though there are several subsidiary compositional elements that lead the eye in to the background the main focal point of the image are the three  children who are isolated and defined by their distinct lighting, individual actions from their more indistinct surroundings.

    The composition demonstrates a very good balance between the light and dark areas of the image.

    There is a scattering, in the background and the foreground, of numerous subsidiary subjects across the whole image.

    All of these various elements contribute to and accentuate the main focus of the image the three key individuals that have been captured unawares within their own distractions and singular human actions.

    The subjects have been captured at a poignant moment in time. Both the photographer and the viewer have become flâneurs by default.

    The children with their individual positions within the composition and personal engagements lead the viewer’s eye, from bottom left diagonally across the image and towards the emptiness of the background that is filled with utter destruction.

    The background enfolds and unfolds around them and spills into the foreground surrounding them in an ocean of urban decay and neglect.

    The pillars, concrete walls, garbage and rubble not only endow the image with a great variety of textural qualities but stand as static structures within the composition providing a sense of ironic cohesion.

    This is counterpointed by the children’s clothing, bags, sitting mats and their actions to clear a space before commencing whatever activity it is their intention to pursue.

    I trust that you find some of these ideas useful within the context of your own photography. Don’t be afraid to experiment and allow different ideas to develop as you go along.

    Remember what I referred to in previous articles about taking photos and creating photograms; the same applies to considering your own photos, other photographers’ work as well as applying different artist’s ideas too.

    Don’t be afraid to experiment.

    Experiment! Experiment! Experiment!

    Remember there are no right or wrong answers or ways of doing it.

    Your photographs are your world.

    You can do what you like. 

    Don’t worry about the theory and trying to remember everything about how to take or consider how to look at or stage a photograph.

    Don’t worry about what you might think is right or wrong in talking about or taking photographs.

     Make mistakes. Laugh. Have funJust enjoy the process.

    Happy Photography. 

    Thank you for your visit.

    goffjamesart.wordpress.com

    Art Photography Poetry

    Reference List

    https://www.friedaward.com/index.php/winners/winners-2015/school-for-the-less-fortunate

    Photography – A Beginner’s Guide – Documentary Photography [Dorothea Lange] – An article by Goff James

    Welcome followers and visitors to my blog and another update in my photography Beginner’s Guide to Photography.

    This week I will be talking about Documentary Photography and looking at an image by Dorothea Lange.

    One can learn so much about photography by looking at; and, talking about other photograpgers’ work.

    Documentary Photography may be defined as;

    • using pictures or interviews with people involved in real events to provide a factual report on a particular subject.

    https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/documentary

    • a style of photography that provides a straightforward and accurate representation of people, places, objects and events, and is often used in reportage.

    http://www.tate.org.uk/art/art-terms/d/documentary-photography

    The image that I have selected is a photograph by Dorothea Lange, (1895-1965, American) entitled:

    Migrant Mother of 6, Age 32, Now Living in California,1936

    Screen Shot 2017-11-24 at 11.00.07
    Dorothea Lange, Migrant Mother of 6, Age 32, Now Living in California, 1936

    The image, held within a tight framing, and made up of a close up portrait set against a dilapidated cloth backdrop, of a woman with her lips pressed in a firm line, furrowed brow creasing her careworn, weather-beaten face with three children.

    It has a shallow depth of field with the apparent main light source directly above and behind the camera.

    Two children have their heads resting on the woman’s shoulders, their faces averted from the camera.

    The third child, a baby, whose face is visible at the right edge of the frame, behind a wooden pole.

    The woman is placed centre frame surrounded by her three siblings reflecting a classically triangular composition with two small heads on either side and the baby held close to her breast where her shirt is unbuttoned.

    The image reflects the dire poverty in which they find themselves –  ragged but resolute. The image captures the poverty, grime and despair of that era.

    It seems to be a simple photograph of a woman and her children, yet it tells the story and the struggle of a generation

    Amy Lane

    The subject’s body and head are tilted slightly forward to allow each of the three children the comfort they need.

    The image bears the iconic emotional and symbolic character of a classical monument or a Renaissance Madonna with all its attaching religious connotations.

    The main area of focus is the seated woman with her lips pressed in a firm line and her furrowed brow creasing her careworn, weather-beaten face.

    The woman sits within her personal living space and demonstrates an intense personal human emotion that invites the viewer to both respond to and empathize with the subject.

    The subject’s gaze neither meets the camera’s lens nor the viewer’s eyes but is cast provocatively outwards beyond such limitations.

    The image is deeply emotional and personal, but with an air of distance and detachment.

    The remainder of the composition communicates both a reflexive defensiveness, as the bodies of the two standing children are turned inward and away from the viewer that exposes their inescapable vulnerability.

    The tension in the woman’s face is accentuated by her supporting right arm and hand holding and pressing into the side of her face.

    This gesture reaching up to touch her chin and the total disposition of her body communicate related tensions.

    The image portrays both an individual’s physical and mental strength counterpointed with palpable concern as well as political ramifications concerning self esteem, productive worth and the futility of any action in impoverished circumstances.

    The image documents a period of history and tells the story of a time, place, group of people and their particular circumstance.

    We live in troubled times … it is impossible not to … make … connections to things happening today. It shows how a photographer can assume the role of activist to try to instigate social change.”

    Drew Johnson

    I trust that you find some of these ideas useful within the context of your own photography. Don’t be afraid to experiment and allow different ideas to develop as you go along.

    Remember what I referred to in previous articles about taking photos and creating photograms; the same applies to considering your own photos, other photographers’ work as well as applying different artist’s ideas too.

    Don’t be afraid to experiment.

    Experiment! Experiment! Experiment!

    Remember there are no right or wrong answers or ways of doing it.

    Your photographs are your world.

    You can do what you like. 

    Don’t worry about the theory and trying to remember everything about how to take or consider how to look at or stage a photograph.

    Don’t worry about what you might think is right or wrong in talking about or taking photographs.

     Make mistakes. Laugh. Have funJust enjoy the process.

    Happy Photography. 

    Thank you for your visit.

    I cordially invite you to subscribe to Goff James Art Photography Poetry at goffjamesart.wordpress.com (Doing so will allow you to be notified whenever new content is published on my blog.

    goffjamesart.wordpress.com

    Art Photography Poetry

    Reference List

    http://www.cphmag.com/migrant-mother/

    http://www.csus.edu/indiv/o/obriene/art1b/amy%20lane%20points%20of%20view%20fall%202012.pdf

    http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-lange-photo-20170521-story.html

    http://www.press.uchicago.edu/Misc/Chicago/316062.html

    http://study.com/academy/lesson/migrant-mother-photograph-analysis-facts.html

    Photography – A Beginner’s Guide – Lighting – An article by Goff James

    20171031_120137ab Red
    Goff James, “GC”, Copyright (c) 2021 Goff James – All Rights Reserved

    Welcome followers and visitors to my blog and another update in my photography Beginner’s Guide to Photography.

    This week I will be talking about experimenting with basic portraiture lighting techniques in the studio (Flat Lighting, Butterfly Lighting, Loop Lighting, Rembrandt Lighting and Split Lighting) their use and trying to understand the impact that they have on the changing dynamics of a portrait.

    Remember one doesn’t have to have access to a studio one can experiment with simple lighting set ups at home.

    20170405_135038abc FBO
    Goff James, “Observation”, Copyright (c) 2021 Goff James – All Rights Reserved

    In classical portraiture there are several things one needs to control and think about to make a flattering portrait of a subjects, including: lighting ratio, lighting pattern, facial view, and angle of view.

    I am looking at lighting pattern: what it was, why it’s important, and how to use it.

    Lighting Pattern – Definition

    Lighting pattern may be defined as;

    • the manner in which light and shadow play across a subject’s face to create different shaped shadows.
    • Possessing five common portrait lighting patterns, being:
    1. Flat Lighting
    2. Butterfly Lighting
    3. Loop Lighting
    4. Rembrandt Lighting
    5. Split Lighting

    Flat Lighting

    Flat Lighting may be defined as;

    • the elimination of any significant shadowing within the facial features of a subject.

    Flat lighting faces directly into the subject from the angle of the lens.

    Flat lighting is the least dramatic lighting pattern because it casts the least amount of shadows on the subject’s face.

    The subject is positioned directly in front of the lighting position, angled so it lays”flat” on the face but slightly above the subject’s face and in the same direction where the photographer is shooting from.

    © Richard Avedon

    All photographs are accurate.  None of them is the truth.

    Richard Avedon

    Paul Roth, curator of Photography at Corcoran Gallery in Washington D.C. stated of Avedon’s portraits that he;

    ” … strips away the masks that we all wear … in order to hide ourselves … and in doing so reveals a kind of deeper humanity.”

    Richard Avedon (American, 1923-2004)

    https://maryckhayes.wordpress.com/2012/08/31/simply-stunning-richard-avedons-portraits/

    Butterfly Lighting

    Butterfly lighting may be defined as;

    • The creation of shaped shadow under the nose of a subject by placing the main light source above and directly behind the camera.

    The photographer is positioned underneath the light source for this pattern to be created.

    © Irving Penn

    A good photograph is one that communicate a fact, touches the heart, leaves the viewer a changed person for having seen it. It is, in a word, effective.

    Irving Penn

    I’ve tried a few times to depart from what I know I can do, and I’ve failed. I’ve tried to work outside the studio, but it introduces too many variables that I can’t control. I’m really quite narrow, you know.

    Irving Penn

    Irving Penn (American,1917-2009)

    http://www.artic.edu/aic/collections/artwork/144806

    http://www.johnpaulcaponigro.com/blog/15923/10-quotes-by-photographer-irving-penn/

    http://ndmagazine.net/photographer/irving-penn/

    Butterfly lighting is most often used for glamour/fashion shots and to create shadows under the cheeks and chin.

    To create the Butterfly Lighting effect the light source is situated directly behind the camera and slightly above eye or head level of the subject.

    The lighting may be supplemented by placing a reflector directly under their chin.

    Loop Lighting

    Loop Lighting may be defined as;

    • creating a small shadow of the subject’s nose on their cheek.

    Loop Lighting is achieved by setting the light source slightly higher than eye level and about 30-45 degrees from the camera. This is dependent upon the individual subject facial bone structure,  demeanour or personal characteristics.

    Loop Lighting creates, dependent on the light positions, a small shadow on either the left or right side of a subject’s nose. In loop lighting the shadow of the nose and that of the cheek do NOT touch.

    © Annie Leibovitz

    The shadow has to be kept small and slightly downward pointing, so the light source must not be  too high which will create odd shadows and cause loss of the catchlights.

    Loop light is probably the most common or popular lighting pattern as it is easy to create and facially flattering.

    The camera makes you forget you’re there. It’s not like you are hiding but you forget, you are just looking so much.

    Annie Leibovitz

    “… the mark of a good portrait is whether you get them or get the soul …”

    Annie Leibovitz

    Annie Leibovitz (American, 1949 – )

    https://www.brainyquote.com/authors/annie_leibovitz

    https://www.slrlounge.com/annie-leibovitz-shoots-cast-of-les-miserables-for-vogue/

    https://sneekcity.com/events/eventDetails.aspx?id=6631

    Rembrandt Lighting

    Rembrandt Lighting may be defined as;

    • possessing the quality of creating a triangle of light on the cheek.

    Unlike loop lighting where the shadow of the nose and cheek do not touch, in Rembrandt lighting they do meet which, which creates a small triangle of light trapped in the middle.

    © Trevor Leighton

    To create the Rembrandt lighting effect one has to ensure that the eye on the shadow side of the face has light in it and has a catch light, otherwise the eye will be “dead” and not posses clarity of definition.

    Rembrandt lighting is dramatic by nature and similar to split lighting it creates an atmosphere of dark artistic emotional tension.

    Rembrandt Lighting is created through positioning the subject turned slightly away from the light source.

    The positioning of the light source light must be above the top of the subject’s head so that the shadow from the nose falls down towards the cheek.

    Not every person’s face is ideal for creating Rembrandt lighting. To be really successful it requires the subject to possess high or prominent cheek bones.

    However this is not a critical prerequisite. It must be remembered that through experimenting with the lighting the ideal is to create a flattering image and the mood you want is created – then the lighting is working.

    Trevor Leighton ( British, 1957-)

    http://www.npgprints.com/image/42802/trevor-leighton-colin-jackson

    http://www.npgprints.com/image/42796/trevor-leighton-ryan-giggs

    Split Lighting

    _IGP8719a FBO
    Goff James, “L”, Copyright (c) 2021 Goff James – All Rights Reserved

    Split Lighting may be defined as;

    • splitting the subject’  face exactly into equal halves with one side being in the light, and the other in shadow. Frequently used to create dramatic portraiture images and possesses a more severe shadowing effect on the sitter’s face.

    © Imogen Cunningham

    Split lighting is achieved by simply placing the light source 90 degrees to the left or right of the subject, and maybe even slightly behind their head.

    It is imperative that one understands where the light is placed in relation to the subject as well as constantly monitoring the manner in which the light flows over the subject’s face so that any  necessary adjustments can be made.

    In true split lighting, the eye on the shadow side of the face does pick up light in the eye only.

    The formula for doing a good job in photography is to think like a poet.

    Imogen Cunningham

    Which is my best picture? The one I will do tomorrow.

    Imogen Cunningham

    Imogen Cunningham (American,1883-1976)

    http://www.azquotes.com/author/19890-Imogen_Cunningham

    https://www.imogencunningham.com/portraits/

    NB any lighting pattern can be created on any facial view. That which has to be remembered is that the light source must follow the face to maintain the lighting pattern.

    If a subject turns or rotates their head of their own volition or at the request of the photographer the lighting/shadowing pattern will change. So on occasion it this may be an easier option rather than adjusting the studio lights.

    These are only some of the elementary basics rules but as always I would like to experiment further by breaking the rules so that my work is constantly developing in new directions. 

    Reference List

    I trust that you find some of these ideas useful within the context of your own photography. Don’t be afraid to experiment and allow different ideas to develop as you go along.

    Remember what I referred to in previous articles about taking photos and creating photograms; the same applies to considering your own photos, other photographers’ work as well as applying different artist’s ideas too.

    Don’t be afraid to experiment.

    Experiment! Experiment! Experiment!

    Remember there are no right or wrong answers or ways of doing it.

    Your photographs are your world.

    You can do what you like. 

    Don’t worry about the theory and trying to remember everything about how to take or consider how to look at or stage a photograph.

    Don’t worry about what you might think is right or wrong in talking about or taking photographs.

     Make mistakes. Laugh. Have funJust enjoy the process.

    Happy Photography. 

    Thank you for your visit.

    I cordially invite you to subscribe to Goff James Art Photography Poetry at goffjamesart.wordpress.com (Doing so will allow you to be notified whenever new content is published on my blog.

    goffjamesart.wordpress.com

    Art Photography Poetry

    Photography – Fine Art Photography – A Beginner’s Guide – Image and Genre – An article by Goff James

    20171027_102333abcde Eight FBO
    Goff James, Eight with Two Squares, 2017, FL 3.54 mm, Exp 1/8 sec, f/2.6, ISO 400 Copyright (c) 2021 Goff James – All Rights Reserved 

    Welcome followers and visitors to my blog and another update in my photography Beginner’s Guide to Photography.

    In previous articles I have spoken frequently about the value of looking at and discussing not only ones own photographs; but, the works of other artists and photographers’ works too.

    The above image is one of my own fine art images.

    This is the image I will be talking about today.

    Fine Art Photography / Photographic Art / Artistic Photography / Creative Photography  – Definition

    Fine Art Photography may be defined as;

    • having no universally agreed meaning or definition,
    • referring to an imprecise category of photographs, created in accordance with the creative vision of the artist/photographer that involves a combination of differing processes – photo-collage, photogram and photography,
    • producing a personal conceptual impression in which the narrative maybe evocative, atmospheric or provocative,
    • primarily being about the artist and where the intention is artistic aesthetic,
    • an incorporation of mixed-media, installation art and assemblage art,
    • not about capturing or documenting reality objectively but going beyond the literal representation of a scene or subject,
    • intentionally being artistically subjective,
    • capturing what the artist sees – an expression of vision,
    • the camera being utilised as a tool to create a work of art and containing elements of artistic control,

    “Art implies control of reality, for reality itself possesses no sense of the aesthetic. Photography becomes art when certain controls are applied.”

    Ansel Adams

    • revealing that it was created by an artist and not by just the camera,
    • involving an original, deliberate creation and that every aspect of making the photograph in the field and in the photographer’s post-processing digital studio, including the printing, are an individual expression from within the artist, 
    •  not re-presenting objective reality literally but rather through subjective intent.

    Reference List

    http://www.visual-arts-cork.com/fine-art-photography.htm

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fine-art_photography

    20171027_102333abcde Eight FBO
    Goff James, Eight with Two Squares, 2017, FL 3.54 mm, Exp 1/8 sec, f/2.6, ISO 400

    The image is a composite creative art photograph made up of four different layering processes – the first being a photogram constructed from organic and inorganic materials, the second being photo collage made up of elements pasted onto the surface of the photogram and thirdly a photographic image taken of the work and the final elements were attached in the photo editing process.

    The image was taken indoors in normal natural daylight conditions. The camera, in auto mode, was hand held directly above the final composition. Within the image the depth of field is particularly shallow due to focussing so close.

    A large aperture of f/2.6 was selected to maintain as much sharpness as possible. As the subject was static a long exposure time of 1/8 sec. A slow film speed of ISO 400 was utilised.

    Consequently only the very centre of the image can be considered to be in the sharp zone.

    However the multiple foreground objects remain clearly defined whilst the background and the objects therein and their edges lack precision and are softened through blurring.

    The crispness of the number eight was achieved by introducing this element in the photo editing process and with the use of layering and filters.

    From a compositional perspective the cropped numeral eight, on the blurred grey hued background, dominates the frame and is located off centre towards the left frame edge.

    The five subsidiary elements are comprised of;

    • the two thin lines that extend across the image from bottom to top,
    • the six fragmented rectangles set one upon the other at the lower right frame edge,
    • the two square shapes – the one situated top right of the composition complemented by the other and found in the bottom left section and finally
    • the triangle descending from the top left frame edge.

    The muted background monochrome hues have been accentuated during the photo-editing process through colour adjustment and the use of a Difference Layer.

    The editing modifications that have occurred have accentuated the crisp outlines and colouration of the foreground shapes making the overall composition sharp and strong.

    The process of creating this image contains within itself a sense of creative irony in that though there is a degree of artistic control this image which is unrepeatable contained the seeds of its its own destiny.

    There was no certainty with regard to the initial stage how the selected object would have been recorded even though the projected light source remained static.

    The process of creation, from the outset, was inherently unfixed and dynamic and the final outcome was similarly defined.

    The staging of the composition reflects the influence of Cubist artists such as George Braque (1882-1963, French), Pablo Picasso (1881-1973, Spanish) and the American artist/photographer Man Ray (1890-1976)

    “… colour acts simultaneously with form but has nothing to do with it …”

    George Braque

    The reasoning behind this work was to permit the image to act as an inspiration for a painting composition.

    However the image works as an independent piece its own right.  The figure eight acts as the pivot for the composition. The shapes appear to have been stencilled onto the surface.

    There is no concrete evidence to suggest that the number eight acts in some overt way as some kind of symbolic or subliminal gesture other than as part of the title of the image.

    The work is intrinsically a study of shapes within shapes and their fragmentationt in a narrative inspired by movement.

    The image not only possess a provoking geometric asymmetry, a feeling of monumentality but also an exploded perspective which is accentuated by its broad spectrum of monochromatic shade and texture as well as its minimalist abstraction.

    A pleasing counterpoint is created through the use of contrasting light and dark areas as well as the varied textures employed. The viewer is drawn into a strange world  and has to search the image to truly perceive all its content.

    “There is no abstract art. You must always start with something. Afterwards you can remove all traces of reality. There’s no danger then, anyway, because the idea of the object will have left an indelible mark.”

    Pablo Picasso

    The image echoes the genre of photographic construction built up from multi-layers possessing no solid centre but is open to space. It contains a variety of solid shaped elements that seem to float around the dark coloured figure eight the focal point of the composition.

    The light background is more representational of the natural world. The monochromatic nature of the composition, the various shapes and contrasting textures  creates a sense of rhythmic cohesion.

    The composition is a shallow arrangement of planes made up of mundane everyday materials, objects and processes.

    The pictorial element represents a conglomeration of fragmented forms devoid of volume.

    The image represents an aerial view of a shape-scape set within the framed edges an empty vista which permits the viewer see into and through it into to the background. The work is characterised, to a large extent, by its very indeterminacy.

    As Surrealist poet Robert Desnos wrote in 1923, Man Ray

    “… succeeded in creating landscapes which are foreign to our planet, revealing a chaos …” 

    Speaking of Pablo Picassos Cubist work André Salmon stated

    “ … delivered from painting and sculpture…[photography] … liberated from the imbecilic tyranny of genres.”

    Reference List

    https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/265487

    https://www.moma.org/calendar/exhibitions/1088?locale=en

    http://www.theartstory.org/artist-braque-georges.htm

    More photography by Goff James

    I trust that you find some of these ideas useful within the context of your own photography. Don’t be afraid to experiment and allow different ideas to develop as you go along.

    Remember what I referred to in previous articles about taking photos and creating photograms; the same applies to considering your own photos, other photographers’ work as well as applying different artist’s ideas too.

    Don’t be afraid to experiment.

    Experiment! Experiment! Experiment!

    Remember there are no right or wrong answers or ways of doing it.

    Your photographs are your world.

    You can do what you like. 

    Don’t worry about the theory and trying to remember everything about how to take or consider how to look at or stage a photograph.

    Don’t worry about what you might think is right or wrong in talking about or taking photographs.

     Make mistakes. Laugh. Have funJust enjoy the process.

    Happy Photography. 

    Thank you for your visit.

    I cordially invite you to subscribe to Goff James Art Photography Poetry at goffjamesart.wordpress.com (Doing so will allow you to be notified whenever new content is published on my blog.

    goffjamesart.wordpress.com

    Art Photography Poetry

    Photography – Macro Photography – A Beginner’s Guide – Image and Genre – An article by Goff James

    IMGP0318abc FBO
    Goff James, Lily, 2017, FL 50 mm, Exp 1/4sec, f/13, ISO 3200

    Welcome followers and visitors to my blog and another update in my photography Beginner’s Guide to Photography.

    In previous articles I have spoken frequently about the value of looking at and discussing not only ones own photographs; but, the works of other artists and photographers’ works too.

    The above image is one of my own still life photographs created in a photography studio. However one could, as I have done frequently, set up a simple studio at home.

    This is the image I will be talking about today.

    Macro Photography – Definition

    Macro photography can be defined as;

    • close-up  photography; Macro photography (or photomacrography[1] or macrography,[2] and sometimes macrophotography[3]),
    • in which the subject of the photograph is usually very small or is a very small detail of a larger object resulting in a larger than life size image,
    • an image taken from close-up or extreme close-up range allowing it to appear on the sensor plane equal to life size or greater,
    • photographing small animate or inanimate subjects in close detail,
    • photographing everyday objects and making them appear extraordinary,
    • producing photographs of small items larger than life size.
    • referring to the art of making very large photographs).[2][4]
    • as one in which the size of the subject on the negative or image sensor is life size or greater.[5]
    • to a finished photograph of a subject at greater than life size.

    Reference Attribution

    https://www.lexico.com/definition/macrophotography

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macro_photography

    https://www.photokonnexion.com/definition-macro-photography-close-up-photography-photomacrography-macrography/

    https://www.shawacademy.com/blog/what-is-macro-photography/

    IMGP0318abc FBO
    Goff James, Lily, 2017, FL 50 mm, Exp 1/4sec, f/13, ISO 3200

    The image is a close-up macro photograph of a single lily head. The camera was laid on the same static base which supported the flower head and directly in front of it.

    The studio lighting was moderately high key and was positioned above and to the left of frame as well as from behind the camera position.

    Within the image the depth of field is very shallow due to focussing so close. Consequently only the central anthers are in the sharp zone of the image ensuring that the foreground image remains clearly defined whilst the background is softened through blurring.

    A  small aperture of f/13 was selected to maintain as much sharpness as possible. As the subject was static I used a long exposure time of 1/4. A very fast film speed of ISO 3200 was utilised.

    From a compositional perspective the single flower head, on the plain velvet background, fills the frame and is located centrally but off set obliquely avoiding a direct frontal image.

    The vibrant colours of the blossom have been accentuated during the photo-editing process and set against a monochrome background. The image is imbued with sheer audacity and boldness.

    The editorial modifications that have occurred have accentuated the strong outlines of the petals. However utilising a cut bloom and photographing it in the studio under the artificial light sources has impacted upon the blooms naturalness but it still possesses a remarkable sense of elegance.

    The magnification of the lily is so detailed that the background is eliminated. Enlarging the petals far beyond life size proportions forces the viewer to observe the small details and the relationships between the various structures that might otherwise be overlooked.

    ‘The subject matter … should never obscure its form and colour, which are its real thematic contents.’

    Georgia O’Keeffe

    By doing this the lily head is transformed into an iconic representation of flowers through integrating the intimate and the grandiose within a single form. A symbol of beauty, sensuality, feminism, contemplation, and inspiration.

    O’Keeffe always insisted that there was no hidden symbolism, just the essence of the flower.

    However the very nature of the flower invites the viewer to imagine its luscious sensuality but to question the relevance of its symbolism within the context of the composition.

    The image conveys a monumentality of presence which is further accentuated by its very minimalist nature.

    Though the image is a reflection of a perfectly formed flower there is a sense of an emerging abstraction form from within.

    The lily head is bathed in a crisp ambient light, every element quietly asserts its essential properties and presence.

    The composition is uniformly vibrantly coloured with its fluorescent pinks, greens and oranges integrated within and counterpointed by the monochrome tones the background.

    The image not only possess a pleasing geometric symmetry, a broad spectrum of shade and texture, a sense of blowsy lusciousness but also a provocative sensuality with its apparently  implied erotic imagery.

    The staging of the composition very much reflects the influence of 20th Century American artist Georgia O’Keeffe, 1887–1986.

    However, O’Keeffe insisted that her works were simply depictions of the beauty of flowers. O’Keeffe may have been emphasising the androgyny of the reproductive parts in order to counter the idea that her subject matter was connected to her gender.

    “You hung all your own associations with flowers on my flower. You write about my flower as if I think and see what you think and see of the flower—and I don’t.”

    Georgia O’Keeffe (1939)

    The focal point of the image are the lily’s anthers located directly centre stage that are the central pivot to the precise outlines of the petals and accentuate the imposing monumentality of the lily.

    A pleasing counterpoint is created through the use of contrasting light and dark areas as well as the varied reflective qualities of the light off the various morphological parts of the flower head.

    The single lily not only creates shapes, patterns and textures but stands as static monumental structure within the composition providing a sense of cohesion.

    A strong sense of rhythm and movement is created through the manner in which the folds in the velvet cloth are echoed in the petals of the lily. 

    The convergence of the invading diagonal central lines of the petals, the dot patterning, sepals, stamens and carpel accentuate this sense of flow.

    Reference List

    http://uk.phaidon.com/agenda/art/articles/2014/february/05/what-do-you-see-in-georgia-okeeffes-flowers/

    https://www.metmuseum.org/toah/works-of-art/69.278.1/

    http://www.outdooreyes.com/photo118.php3

    http://www.theartstory.org/artist-okeeffe-georgia.htm

    http://www.theartgorgeous.com/5-facts-on-georgia-okeeffe/

    More photography by Goff James

    I trust that you find some of these ideas useful within the context of your own photography. Don’t be afraid to experiment and allow different ideas to develop as you go along.

    Remember what I referred to in previous articles about taking photos and creating photograms; the same applies to considering your own photos, other photographers’ work as well as applying different artist’s ideas too.

    Don’t be afraid to experiment.

    Experiment! Experiment! Experiment!

    Remember there are no right or wrong answers or ways of doing it.

    Your photographs are your world.

    You can do what you like. 

    Don’t worry about the theory and trying to remember everything about how to take or consider how to look at or stage a photograph.

    Don’t worry about what you might think is right or wrong in talking about or taking photographs.

     Make mistakes. Laugh. Have funJust enjoy the process.

    Happy Photography. 

    Thank you for your visit.

    I cordially invite you to subscribe to Goff James Art Photography Poetry at goffjamesart.wordpress.com (Doing so will allow you to be notified whenever new content is published on my blog.

    goffjamesart.wordpress.com

    Art Photography Poetry

    Photography, Still Life Photography – A Beginner’s Guide – Image and Genre an article by Goff James

    IMGP0488abcd FBO
    Goff James, Study, 2017, FL 23.00mm, Exp 1/5sec, f/13, ISO 3200

    Welcome followers and visitors to my blog and another update in my photography Beginner’s Guide to Photography.

    In previous articles I have spoken frequently about the value of looking at and discussing not only ones own photographs; but, the works of other photographers’ works too.

    The above image is one of my own still life photographs created, at home. No fancy studio set up or studio lighting here. An old velvet curtain draped over a clothes airer made the backdrop and all set up on the dining table, all curtains drawn and a simple source light. I used a reading lamp.

    This is the image I will be talking about today.

    What is Still Life Photography?

    Still Life Photography – Definition

    Still Life Photography may be defined as;

    an image that present either a covert or overt narrative within either a staged or unstated scenario,

    as conveying a concept through, an image, an emotion, the use of objects as symbols or a pre-determined narrative.

    the depiction of inanimate subject matter, typically a small group of inanimate common-place objects presented within the context of the traditional or contemporary still life artistic styles.basically possessing two sub-types, found and created. 

    Found Still Life can be defined as;

    random collections of objects which are arranged without any outside interference to their arrangement. The image is presented in situ.

    Created Still Life may be defined as;

    a collection of objects that have been arranged in a specific manner containing a particular pre-selected theme or narrative.

    Reference Attribution

    http://lensmagazine.net/about-still-life-photography/

    http://www.shawacademy.com/blog/top-15-genres-of-photography-that-you-need-to-know/

    http://study.com/academy/lesson/still-life-photography-definition-techniques-examples.html

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Still_life_photography

    IMGP0488abcd FBO
    Goff James, Study, 2017, FL 23.00mm, Exp 1/5sec, f/13, ISO 3200

    The image is a photograph of a still life within a studio/room. A makeshift tripod was used and the lighting was deliberately very low key coming from back left frame. 

    The image possesses a very narrow angled interior shot with one low key light situated behind and to the left of the camera.

    The image possesses a very shallow depth of field ensuring that the foreground image remains clearly defined whilst the background is blurred.

    The staging of the composition very much reflects the influence of 17th Century Dutch Still Life artists such as Jacob van Walscapelle, (Dutch, 1644 -1727) and Willem Claesz, Heda, (Dutch, 1594 -1680).

    Though modest in size and compass, this still life photograph possesses a remarkable sense of simple elegance and restrained grandeur.

    Assembling only a few objects on a plain velvet background, the image conveys a monumentality of presence even though it is quite a relatively simple composition.

    The image is bathed in soft ambient light, every figural element quietly asserts its essential properties and presence.

    The composition is uniformly hued with warm tones of muted red-amber counterpointed with the cooler tones reflected in the glass and silver objects.

    The two crystal glasses, glass decanter filled with water and spectacles sparkles against the somber dark background.

    This is echoed in the silver candlestick, tankard and watch. The ripe apple not only invites the viewer to imagine its ripe taste but to question its symbolism within the context of the whole narrative presented.

    The spectacles and the silk scarf spilling over the edge of the closed book invites one to reflect upon life and learning.

    The white silk scarf not only plays against the very dark backdrop of the wall but also links the objects together.

    The dark velvet of the background and foreground acts as device to both isolate individual and groups of objects accentuating their own contribution to the overall composition.

    The remaining mundane common-place objects all present their own particular symbolism which, upon contemplation, may or may not provoke an interpretation from the viewer.

    In addition to their simple beauty, these items are also part of a long iconographic tradition within still-life painting itself.

    At first sight the photographic composition appears to welcome the viewer in to a simple elegant space. Yet the crystal glasses are empty with one resting on its side, the glass decanter does not contain wine but water the remaining objects have been set as if to indicate that whatever pleasures had been taking place have ceased.

    A number of objects in the photograph hint at the transience of worldly existence – the snuffed out candle and the extinguished match, the watch all  symbolise the transience of existence and the abruptness by which life can end.

    As the viewer reflects upon such matters and is drawn even further into the composition the eyes, in their travel across the image, reveal a deeper complexity.

    Within the reflections found in the silver tankard and more subtly within the glass decanter are two different views of what lies behind the photographer – the room itself.

    If one views the image from the bottom up I have attempted to use the rule of thirds to dictate how the image is laid out.

    The velvet cover, book, watch and half the circle of the glass on its side in the foreground travel approximately a third of the way up the image, the middle third is taken up with the silk scarf, apple, tankard, standing glass, the decanter base and candle stick stem and the top third is composed of the top of the decanter, the extinguished candle and the top expanse of the dark velvet drape.

    Similarly if one views the image from left frame to right frame the rule of thirds reinforces the images classical composition set up.

    The watch, apple and tankard are located in the right vertical third. The middle vertical third holds the scarf, spectacles, candlestick, box of matches and glass decanter.The final third is where the two crystal glasses are situated.

    Compositionally there is a diagonal line that runs from the top left hand corner to the bottom right hand corner passing directly over the central nose-bridge of the spectacles that creates two right-angled triangles.

    The right angle to the left contains  both crystal glasses, half the spectacles, box of matches and the book. Whereas, the upturned right angle at the top of the image contains the remaining objects.

    An unseen central vertical line ascends from the middle base, up through the glass lens, passing between the edge of the decanter and the outer edge of the curling smoke and accentuates the symmetrical nature of the composition by dividing the frame vertically into two halves.

    The focal point of the image is the glass decanter, placed off-centre, accentuating its dominant  presence within the composition.

    The top of the decanter forms the apex of a triangle with its base stretching the whole of the baseline frame edge and containing the majority of the individual objects.

    Two further right angled triangles exist one to the left containing the two crystal glasses and the other to the left holding the tankard, apple and watch.

    As well as the sensual muted tones of the composition these  other various compositional criteria not only reinforce but unify the classical nature of the composition.

    A pleasing counterpoint is created through the use of contrasting light and dark areas as well as the varied reflective qualities of the light off differing objects.

    The various objects not only only create textures but stand as static structures within the composition providing a sense of cohesion.

    A strong sense of rhythm and movement is created through the manner in which each object has been placed, their reflective qualities and the flow in the folds of the velvet itself.

    Reference Attribution

    https://www.nga.gov/Collection/paintings/Dutch17thcentury/subject-browse/still-lifes.html

    More photography by Goff James

    I trust that you find some of these ideas useful within the context of your own photography. Don’t be afraid to experiment and allow different ideas to develop as you go along.

    Remember what I referred to in previous articles about taking photos and creating photograms; the same applies to considering your own photos, other photographers’ work as well as applying different artist’s ideas too.

    Don’t be afraid to experiment.

    Experiment! Experiment! Experiment!

    Remember there are no right or wrong answers or ways of doing it.

    Your photographs are your world.

    You can do what you like. 

    Don’t worry about the theory and trying to remember everything about how to take or consider how to look at or stage a photograph.

    Don’t worry about what you might think is right or wrong in talking about or taking photographs.

     Make mistakes. Laugh. Have funJust enjoy the process.

    Happy Photography. 

    Thank you for your visit.

    I cordially invite you to subscribe to Goff James Art Photography Poetry at goffjamesart.wordpress.com (Doing so will allow you to be notified whenever new content is published on my blog.

    goffjamesart.wordpress.com

    Art Photography Poetry

    Photography – Street Photography – A Beginner’s Guide – Talking Pictures – Image and Genre an article by Goff James

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    Goff James, Distraction, 2017,FL 3.54mm, Exp. 1/35 sec, f/2.6, ISO 50

    Welcome followers and visitors to my blog and another update in my series ‘A Beginner’s Guide to Photography’.

    In previous articles I have spoken frequently about the value of looking at and discussing not only ones own photographs; but, the works of other photographers’ works too.

    The above image is one of my own photographs taken on a street walk about entitled “Distraction“.

    This is the image I will be talking about today.

    What is Street Photography?

    Street Photography – Definition

    Street Photography may be defined as;

    a genre of photography that features subjects in candid situations featuring unmediated chance encounters and random incidents within public spaces. [1]

    as not necessitating either the presence of any urban environ or any human presence within it. It  can be of an object or environment where the image projects a decidedly human character in facsimile or aesthetic.[2][page needed][3]

    as reflecting society as it manifests itself and non-manipulated where the subjects are unaware of the photographer’s presence. The photographer, in a sense, can be viewed as an extension of the flâneur – a casual street observer.

    being ironic, amusing and be distanced from the subject matter. It frequently focuses upon a single human action captured at a decisive or poignant moment. The vocabulary of street photography is subtlety with no inherent premeditated message.

    providing a very literal and extreme rendition of a subject and provide a more unfamiliar visceral experience beyond the personal experience of the viewer.

    having the ability to document a particular scenario and defined by its very candidness.

    as possessing extreme aloofness and impartiality in the nature of any particular activity, delivering a true depiction of that which is being observed.

    1. Warner Marien, Mary (2012). 100 ideas that changed photography. London: Laurence King Publishing. p. 169. ISBN 978-1-85669-793-4.
    2. Colin Westerbeck. Bystander: A History of Street Photography. 1st ed. Little, Brown and Company, 1994.
    3. “Archived copy”. Archived from the original on 2015-04-22. Retrieved 2015-04-21.

    Reference List

    http://www.urbanpicnic-streetphotography.com/what-is-street-photography/

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Street_photography

    20170602_181534a Lighter FBO
    Goff James, Distraction, 2017, FL 3.54mm, Exp. 1/35 sec, f/2.6, ISO 50

    The image is a photograph of a scene of a river walk with bars and restaurants taken in the early evening. Light levels were relatively low and fading but illuminated from the front with street lighting.

    The image is a wide angled outdoor shot taken beside the river. The image possesses an excellent depth of field ensuring that the whole image remains clearly defined.

    If one views the image from the bottom up I have attempted to use the rule of thirds to dictate how the image is laid out.

    The three figures, the bar and menu board in the bottom foreground are positioned in the lower third third of the image, the middle third is taken up with the diners, the river, the barman and background city-scape and the top third is composed of the tree canopy on the left and centre and curlicued roofing on the right.

    Similarly if one views the image from left frame to right frame the rule of thirds reinforces the images classical composition set up.

    The two female figures in the foreground, the diners and roofing make up the right vertical third.

    The middle vertical third is made up of the male figure in the foreground, the barman, river, city-scape, the defoliated tree canopy and sky define the middle third.

    The last third to the left holds the menu board in the foreground the river, buildings and the green foliaged tree canopy.

    The image is subdivided by a diagonal line that flows from the bottom left corner to the top right corner and accentuates approximately the division between the equally lightened and darker areas.

    This is further intensified by the way in which the handrail in the middle left leads the eye behind the figure of the barman along the heads of the diners and continues to a vanishing point on the right hand side of the middle frame and made more intense by this counterpoint of light.

    Compositionally there are similar leading lines that accentuate this division – the decking, the outer edge of the bench the walkway through the centre of the dining area and are again echoed in the tree trunks and umbrella poles – and lead the eye directly to that vanishing point.

    These latter elements fragment and isolate the key individuals within their own pictorial space accentuation their own individual isolation and distractions

    That which I find really interesting about this image is the manner in which the colours worn by the three main figures in the foreground are picked up within  the composition and lead the eye into the heart of the image.

    The green of the females cardigan is picked up in the foliage of the tress, the red dress of the female in the foreground, is echoed in the top of the post in the centre and the reds in the background, the white of the females blouse, the barman’s shirt, diner’s shirt tops through to the buildings, the clouds and the black clothing of the seated centrally placed male is picked up throughout the image.

    These four contrasting colours not only provide a counterpoint to the overall blue hues but provide the image with a sense of rhythmic movement within the composition.

    Though there are several subsidiary compositional elements that lead the eye in to the background the main focal point of the image are the three seated individuals in the immediate foreground and the central standing male figure their silhouettes defined by their distinct lighting, roles and more indistinct surroundings.

    The composition demonstrates a very good balance between the light and dark areas of the image.

    There is a scattering, in the background, of numerous subsidiary subjects across the whole image all contributing to and accentuating the main focus of the image the four key individuals that have been captured unawares within their own distractions and singular human actions captured at a poignant moment in time. The photographer becomes the flâneur by default.

    A pleasing counterpoint is created through the use of contrasting light, colour and the human forms which are the main elements within the composition.

    Both their individual positions within the composition and personal engagements lead the viewer’s eye towards the lighter blue hues of the background scenery of the urban-scape and sky and out of the much darker blue hues to be found in the background immediately behind them.

    The trees, umbrellas, hand rail, bench, bar and restaurant roofs not only create textures but stand as static structures within the composition providing a sense of cohesion.

    A strong sense of rhythm and movement are created by all these various elements as well as the curves of the roofs and the echoing of individual colours leading the eye to the point where they vanish from sight.

    More photography by Goff James

    I trust that you find some of these ideas useful within the context of your own photography. Don’t be afraid to experiment and allow different ideas to develop as you go along.

    Remember what I referred to in previous articles about taking photos and creating photograms; the same applies to considering your own photos, other photographers’ work as well as applying different artist’s ideas too.

    Don’t be afraid to experiment.

    Experiment! Experiment! Experiment!

    Remember there are no right or wrong answers or ways of doing it.

    Your photographs are your world.

    You can do what you like. 

    Don’t worry about the theory and trying to remember everything about how to take or consider how to look at or stage a photograph.

    Don’t worry about what you might think is right or wrong in talking about or taking photographs.

     Make mistakes. Laugh. Have funJust enjoy the process.

    Happy Photography. 

    Thank you for your visit.

    I cordially invite you to subscribe to Goff James Art Photography Poetry at goffjamesart.wordpress.com (Doing so will allow you to be notified whenever new content is published on my blog.

    goffjamesart.wordpress.com

    Art Photography Poetry

    Photography – Portraiture – A Beginner’s Guide – Talking Pictures – Image and Genre an article by Goff James

    Welcome followers and visitors to another update in my Beginner’s guide to photography.

    Today I will be talking about portrait photography; defining portrait photography, looking at, and analysing one of my own portraits titled “LT”.

    As I have mentioned in previous articles it is good to take an in depth look at ones own images as well as other photographers’ work.

    IMGP0113aCrop Crop_edited-3Clon Ed FBO
    Goff James, “LT”, 2017, (FL 18.00mm, Exp 1/100 sec, Is0 400

    Photo “LT” Attribution, Goff James,

    Copyright (c) 2021 Goff James – All Rights Reserved 

    Portrait Photography – Definition

    Portrait photography may be defined as;

    • a photograph of a person or group of people that captures the personality of the subject by using effective lighting, backdrops, and poses.[1]
    1. Francis, Kathleen (2007). The Focal Encyclopaedia of Photography. Focal Press. p. 341. ISBN 978-0240807409.
    • as being about the face and distinguishing facial features, while capturing the person’s attitude, identity, and personality. The photo may include a blurred background and the person’s body, but those factors are not emphasised in the image.
    • as possessing both a reflective and deductive process possessing four definitive approaches;

    The Constructionist Approach is one in which an idea is constructed around the portrait and applied in studio and social photography. It is also used extensively in advertising and marketing when an idea has to be put across. A constructionist approach to portraiture is all about building emotion and atmosphere.

    The Environmental Approach depicts the subject in their environment -work, leisure, social or family. They are depicted being involved in a particular activity related to themselves and reveals more about the subject and the subject’s identity. Such images can possess historical and social significance as primary sources of information.

    The Candid Approach is where subjects are photographed without their knowledge going about their daily business. The danger with this approach is that it can be be invasive and exploitative. However candid photography is important as a historical source of information about people. Candid portraits are all about looseness and capturing the essence of a subject

    The Creative Approach is where digital manipulation (and formerly darkroom manipulation) is brought to bear to produce images of people.

    Reference Attribution

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portrait_photography

    http://study.com/academy/lesson/portrait-photography-definition-techniques-tips.html

    IMGP0113aCrop Crop_edited-3Clon Ed FBO
    Goff James, “LT”, 2017, (FL 18.00mm, Exp 1/100 sec, Is0 400

    This image of “LT” is a staged photograph set up in the studio. The lighting set up was muted high key. The lighting coming from the left was set pointing downwards

    The image is a narrow angled close up studio shot. The image possesses a shallow depth of field ensuring that the sitters face is clearly defined whilst the background is blurred.

    If one views the image from the bottom up I have attempted to use the rule of thirds to dictate how the image is laid out.

    The darker shaded area of the upper torso travels a third of the way up the image, the middle third is taken up with the hands and the top third is composed of the sitter’s head.

    The image is also made up of approximately fifty percent brightly lit whilst the other half is dark. The muted half tone of the background and dark areas of the torso isolates the sitter silhouette. This counterpoint of light intensifies the dynamics of the image.

    Compositionally there is a diagonal line that runs from the top left hand corner to the bottom right hand corner passing along the sitters right cheek bone down through the fingers and along the line of his left arm that creates two right-angled triangles.

    The right angle to the left predominately contains the deep dark areas of the image. Whilst, the upturned right angle at the top of the image contains the lit areas of the left arm, hands and the left hand side of the face.

    The central vertical line which travels from the top of the image downwards along the bridge of the nose, lips, chin and hands simulates the horizontal theme of thirds of the composition by dividing the frame vertically into thirds.

    In this monochromatic image it was my intention to use the contrast of black and white to be the dominant factor within the composition. The dominance of the sitter’s eyes within the black and white setting accentuates the emotional intensity of the image.

    The focal point of the image is the penetrating stare possessed in the sitter’s left eye. The pool  of shade which surrounds that eye isolates it from the remainder of the composition.

    The highlighting on the bridge of the nose draws the viewer’s own eyes in that direction and  accentuates this area as the dominant focal point. The composition demonstrates a very good balance between the light and dark areas of the composition.

    There is a scattering of dominant subjects across the whole image – that includes the sitter’s torso, his left arm, the hands and the face. All arranged around the two slightly offset equilateral triangles that are crated within the frame.

    The first has its base resting along the bottom edge of the frame set between the sitter’s elbows and the sides of which rise and meet at the top of the hands.

    The second hangs from the top frame and is pinpointed by the sides of the sitter’s temples and the point of the chin that creates an almost perfect X.

    This configuration of placing the apex of the two triangles at the point of the chin creates an intersection that divides the sitter’s face symmetrically. One half in complete darkness the other half highlighted.

    The vertical line created between the point of the chin and the point at the top of the bridge of the nose leads the viewer’s point of vision directly to the sitter’s eyes (though only one is visible) and in so doing accentuates the main focus of the image, the sitter’s left eye.

    It is this feature, within the monochrome setting, that the viewer’s eyes are drawn to. There are no other distracting colours. It is the monochromatic nature of the composition that unifies the whole composition.

    A pleasing counterpoint is created through only use of contrasting light and dark areas. The sitter emerges out of the darkness looking directly towards and confronts the viewer through making direct contact.

    It is this provocative intimidating confrontation that directs the viewer’s own eyes towards the sitter’s lone visible eye. In so doing this ignites within the viewer a reasoned questioning of his or her own emotional state, fears and identity.

    The whole image create a Freudian context within the composition which creates an intense emotional tension.

    A strong sense of rhythm and movement is created through the different geometrical constructs within the composition.

    The fluidity the flow of the many directional lines created within the composition by the arms, fingers, face, chin, curve of the shoulders and top of the nose which lead the viewer’s eyes directly to the main focal point – the sitter’s left eye.

    More photography by Goff James

    I trust that you find some of these ideas useful within the context of your own photography. Don’t be afraid to experiment and allow different ideas to develop as you go along.

    Remember what I referred to in previous articles about taking photos and creating photograms; the same applies to considering your own photos, other photographers’ work as well as applying different artist’s ideas too.

    Don’t be afraid to experiment.

    Experiment! Experiment! Experiment!

    Remember there are no right or wrong answers or ways of doing it.

    Your photographs are your world.

    You can do what you like. 

    Don’t worry about the theory and trying to remember everything about how to take or consider how to look at or stage a photograph.

    Don’t worry about what you might think is right or wrong in talking about or taking photographs.

     Make mistakes. Laugh. Have funJust enjoy the process.

    Happy Photography. 

    Thank you for your visit.

    I cordially invite you to subscribe to Goff James Art Photography Poetry at goffjamesart.wordpress.com (Doing so will allow you to be notified whenever new content is published on my blog.

    goffjamesart.wordpress.com

    Art Photography Poetry