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Photography and Things

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Exercises

Text of Photography and Things

  • EXERCISEBicycleAssignment: Photograph a bicyclefrom various angles.

    Goal: Explore the idea that there ismore than one way to look at any ob-ject. Once you start really looking, thepossibilities are endless.

    Tips: Get in close and shoot parts ofthe bicycle: pedals, spokes, handle-bars, seat, light, kickstand, gears, etc.Get even closer and shoot details of theparts: a portion of the gears, the hand-grip of the handlebars, the joint of thekickstand.

    Then pull back a bit and look forpatterns: the various lines and circlesand curves and angles of the frame,wheels and mechanism of the bicycle.Pull further back and shoot the entirebicycle in an interesting environment.Alternatively, shoot it in a very plainenvironment, so the shapes of the bi-cycle stand out clearly.

    Approach the bicycle from thefront, back, top and either side. Getdown under it and shoot upwards. Layit down and shoot it on the ground.Get in close again. Step back. Movearound. Try to find as many ways asyou can to look at this one object.

    (Note: You don't have to restrictyourself to one bicycle. Look for varia-tions in different ones. Find or placeseveral bikes together and shoot themas a group. Do, however, get at leasta half-dozen shots of one bicycle, tosee how many variations you can findin a single object.)

    Student photograph by Charles Bell.

    154 The Photographic Eye

  • Student photograph by Charles StuartKennedy III.

    Student photograph by Bruce Wiles.

    Things 155

  • EXERCISEHubcaps &TaillightsAssignment: Photograph auto-mobile hubcaps and taillights (head-lights are acceptable as well).

    Goal: Concentrate on cropping inon your subject. Explore variousways of composing circular and othershapes within the rectangular frameof a photograph.

    Tips: Choose you r subjec t scarefully; the more intricate the bet-ter. For example, a very plain hub-cap will generally be less interest-ing than one with spokes or otherdecoration.

    Shoot pieces, details. It's a goodidea, for instance, not to get thewhole hubcap into the frame. Cropin on an interesting part of it. Lookfor patterns. In this exercise, patternsare more important than the objectbeing photographed.

    Notice how light interacts withchrome and glass. Pay particular at-tention to precise focusing. Experi-ment with different angles for in-teresting effects. Move around.

    Student photograph by Stephen Griggs.

    Student photograph by Marciano Pitargue, Jr.

    156 The Photographic Eye

  • Student photograph by DavidKleinfelt.

    Student photograph by Han June Bae.

    Things 157

  • EXERCISEEggsAssignment: Arrange several eggs ona white background and photographthem.

    Goal: Explore the possibilities of arepeated simple shape, of light andshadow, of a white subject on a whitebackground, and of a "set-up"shot all at once. Try to produce aphotograph in which the eggs are ar-ranged in a pleasing compositionwhich is enhanced by their shadows.

    Tips: Try using a large (i .e.32" x 40") piece of white matboard, so you can experiment freelywith composition and viewing angle.Shoot in bright sunlight and rely onthe point of departure camera setting(f/16 at 1/125 of a second). This isanother case in which your lightmeter will only be confusing.

    Don't settle for the first shot thatcomes to mind explore! Try variousarrangements and various anglesunti l you get something that'sexciting.

    Student photograph by Jun Hwang.

    158 The Photographic Eye

  • Student photograph by CliffBlaskowsky.

    Student photograph by William Roche.

    Things 159

  • EXERCISEObject &Its ShadowAssignment: Photograph an object(or part of it) along with its shadow.

    Goal: Explore how an object'sshadow can add visual interest to aphotograph.

    In addition, learn to place both anobject (or part of an object) and itsshadow effectively into a rectangularframe.

    Tips: You'll get the best resultsearly or late in the day (from dawnto mid-morning or mid-afternoon tillsunset), when shadows will be niceand long. Be sure your subject is well-placed to cast an interesting shadow.It's best if the shadow is cast on afairly simple surface a complicatedsurface tends to reduce a shadow'simpact.

    Pay particular attention to negativespace. Try to achieve visual tensionbetween the object and the shadow.This can be done by placing the ob-ject over to one side of the frame andletting the shadow stretch to the farside (a corner to corner stretch can beespecially effective).

    Student photograph by Charles Stuart Kennedy HI.

    160 The Photographic Eye

  • Student photograph by LynneMattielli.

    Student photograph by Evelyn Wight.

    Things 161

    Student photograph by Evelyn Wight.

  • EXERCISEBottles &GlassesAssignment: Photograph an ar-rangement of bottles and/or glasseson a white background. (32 x 40"white mat board is recommended).Photograph the arrangement fromvarious angles to explore the com-positional possibilities in it.

    Goal: Achieve the best possiblewhite, gray and black tones, using thecorrect aperture and shutter speedcombination (f/16 at 125 in brightsunlight).

    Produce an interesting composi-tion that makes good use of thesetones.

    Tips: Don't rely on your lightmeter. Stick to the "point of depar-ture" setting and you will get the cor-rect effect. The background shouldbe a true white, but with texture visi-ble. Black lines (where glass is thickor is touching something) should beclear and dark enough to contraststrongly with the white. Gray tonesshould be varied and delicate, notmuddy.

    Notice how the shapes of the bot-tles or glasses interact with eachother, and how their shadows interactas well.

    Do not let the edge of the white sur-face show in the frame! A telephotoor, better still, a zoom lens is helpfulfor an assignment like this. If youhave one, use it. If you don't, just getin close.

    Student photograph by Jeff Frye.

    Student photograph by Bill Backus.

    162 The Photographic Eye

  • Student photograph by LynneMattielli,

    ,-Student photograph by CliffBlaskowsky.

    Things 163

  • EXERCISEWaterAssignment: Photograph water-any kind of water, from a puddle toan ocean.

    Goal: Capture some of water's dif-ferent qualities: calm and still, rip-pling, splashing, falling, cascading,moody, etc.

    Tips: Watch for interesting reflec-tions on calm water; for water in-teracting with other objects (people,animals, rocks); for how water af-fects and is affected by its environ-ment; for water as an environment;for drops of water on leaves, glass,metal, etc. Try looking into the waterfor fish, pebbles, discarded bottles orwhatever else you might find.

    Photograph a landscape or a citystreet through a wet window in ahome, apartment or car. Keep an eyeout for floating leaves, sticks orboats, anything half in and half outof the water. Look for things grow-ing in water: lilies, grass, algae.

    You may want to photograph anobject and its reflection, or just thereflection. Try shooting a calm reflec-tion first, and then tossing in a peb-ble to see what effect that has.

    Finally, you might catch peopleplaying in water at a fire hydrant,in a swimming pool, along a river orat the ocean.

    Student photograph by Greg Garre.

    Student photograph by A! Webb.

    164 The Photographic Eye

    Student photograph by Greg Garre.

  • EXERCISEOld ThingsAssignment: Photograph a varietyof old objects, things that are wornfrom age or use houses, tools, toys,furni ture, etc.

    Goal: Show how the age of an ob-ject influences its character.

    Tips: People in our society tend tothink that a thing has to be new andglossy to be good. Few people ap-preciate things that have earned theircharacter through age and lots of use.That's what this exercise is about.

    Look for peeled pa in t , rus t ,broken glass, things that have beenabandoned, used up, worn out. Theyhave a statement of their own, aspecial mood. That mood may be sad("This thing is all worn out"), orhappy ("This thing has been usefulfor years").

    Try to capture the object'scharacter. Notice how light and tex-ture may help to por t ray thatcharacter.

    Possible subjects include oldhouses, cars, tools, bridges, traintracks, machinery, abandoned build-ings, an old can, discarded toys, achipped plate, teacup, fork.

    (Note: If you find something in-doors that you want to photographoutdoors, be very careful that itdoesn't look set up. Adjust the ar-rangement until it looks natural.)

    Student photograph by Mark Mealey.

    Student photograph by Thomas A. Perez.

    Things 165

  • Student photograph by Richard Greenstone.

    166 The Photographic Eye