Saturday, 9 January 2016

A Different Perspective... Can you see it?

I have been putting this off for a while.  A challenge to put together 10 photos within the bathroom that are different and appealing to the eye.  Finally I had some brain space to give it a crack.  The purpose of the exercise is to get me looking at things differently.  An exercise in changing my perspective.  Hopefully it will get me looking at everyday objects and possible help change my own personal lens in the way I photograph and see things through my camera.  However it did much more than that in the end.
So I entered the bathroom armed with camera gear, knowing now was the right time of day with the light shining through.  It's scary setting yourself these challenges as the fear of not being able to come up with something nags at the back of my mind.  

Initially some lenses did not work ie the 300mm or the 600ml!  even the 135mm, I could not find somewhere to use.  The 100mm macro with a tube worked well and the 50mm, and I stumbled my efforts with a 24mm Sigma.  I used my Cannon 6d as I required to push the ISO up and this machine deals with it well.  So that's the technical bit, and interestingly that's how I was initially thinking.  How wrong was I!
Busy in the bathroom now I was snapping off images.  It is amazing nowadays with digital, how many images you can snap off before you get the one you want.  I used to shoot slide and print.  I remember every shot I considered as I knew I was going to pay money for it my 36 film canister.  And out of 36 there were only so many that were really usable and some duds.  Either way it made me reconsider pressing the shutter button.  Nowadays you can rattle them off like a machine gun.  I think it is important to minimise this technique and put more careful consideration in to why and what you are photographing.  I was finding this activity revitalising this learning.  I seriously required better planning and visualisation for the images I am wanting to create.
I had some ideas, however I did not have ten images sorted in my head.  It would have been better to have written these down, even sketched them maybe?  So the first attempt I nailed 6 images of which I was happy.  I still had four to go!  I had to extract myself from the bathroom eventually as I lost the light and my partner wanted to use it.  Oops sorry Jo!
However what a great bonus this turned out to be.  As I came out I already started reflecting on my initial experience.  It dawned on me that this was not about photographing things.  It was capturing images that give the essence of a bathroom.  Maybe people may look at these and wonder - what is that, where is that?  Maybe there are environmental messages.  Everyday items we see all the time, suddenly popped out.  Formulating the images and ideas came flooding in.  I started to visualize what I wanted to photograph, the f stop and speed and why.  It was starting to come together and so the exercise was slowly proving its worth.
 I went back in the next day and new exactly what I wanted to photograph.  Having a break and getting a new perspective is often a great technique and this was no different.  It's like leaving town and taking a holiday, returning home and work, fresh with a new lens on what you see.  A fresh perspective.  After a couple of runs I completed my final 10 images.
 It still wasn't perfect on the second attempt.  However this challenge was to push my mind to see things differently.  What started off as a challenge to photograph things became chance to investigate what was the essence of the images I was creating.  When you take a sunrise image, often it's not too hard to get a workable image.  The art is in composition, light and timing.  In a common place like the bathroom, I visit most every day, where I never blink an eye to the details or what it may look like as an image with this light, this activity started me thinking what and why I was photographing.  It started getting me to think about what was the essence of these images. Changing my perspective on how I see things.  Not surprisingly, I can apply this to most aspects of my life.  How can I see other people's perspectives better, and better understand them.  Often we rush too fast to make a judgement about others, without taking the time to really listen with the intent to understand the other persons perspective, what drove them to their actions and why.  That takes effort - emotionally.  It takes an investment in time.  I think about my own kids, partner and others that I know.  It makes me wonder and analysis how I can better understand them.  And will they let me? - relationships are a two way street.
 This brings me to the play of light and how important it is.  There were times in the bathroom some images just would not work.  Photography is about the use of light.  It is critical and can make an image pop out or sit bland and boring.  So timing can be everything in photography, like relationships.  However sometimes you can improvise.  These last three images I used a head torch which helped these images light up.
 It reminded me though that patience is imperative.  I like shooting landscapes and wild places with people and animals often as subjects.  That's because I love travelling to these places and sharing the images I have with others.  You can't always get the timing right though.  I have missed many images through poor unthoughtful timing and poor planning.  How many times have I done this with my relationships?  Relationships between people friends or such like are never black n white.  I think there grey with oodles of colour.
 Overall it's a great exercise to do, and if you're into photography I challenge you to find the opportunity to give it a go.  Next is the living space, then the kitchen.  Let's see what I come up with then.  Feel welcome to comment - love to know your thoughts and ideas.

Andy Thompson

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