Archive for July 22, 2013

Shape vs. form

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This article of mine was posted January 28, 2013 and I’d like to repost it in keeping with our understanding and presentation of “Shapes” which is our picture series for this week.

We use the words “form” and “shape” interchangeably. There is however a distinction. This article What Is the Difference Between Shape and Form In Photography provides a basic explanation that distinguishes between the two, and how they correlate to the concept of “space” and how, when combined, creates the element of photographic composition. We’ve been exposed to shapes early on – triangles, rectangles, squares and those with many sides (hexagon, pentagon, etc.). In a photograph, an object comes across as two-dimensional. In the accompanying photo, we know the shape of the ball, in the same manner that we know the shape of a wheel, a plate, saucer, a complete pizza, a coin as examples. When viewed flat, they are all round or circular in shape. When light falls on the subject, like the ball in the picture, it produces dark areas and shadows, highlighting its length, width and depth, and producing a three-dimensional form with the negative space around it. Learning to use this concept of space in combination with the shape and form of central subjects will help in determining the viability and effectiveness of our composition. We know the shape of a tree. When we photograph that tree with the light of a sunset in the horizon, it will cast long shadows and create a dramatic form. Composition comes to fore when we combine our focal point (the tree, already in its interesting form) with other elements in the space around it, say distant mountains in the background or a verdant field surrounding it. The thinking photographer already envisioned the scene, and it is a matter of arranging these elements in the frame to come up with a compositionally pleasing shot.

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Photo Quotes 166

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…beautiful shapes make beautiful pictures.~Jim Zuckerman


Shapes Week

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A photographer will notice shapes which is one of the most basic elements of design. Even without color, more so without color, shapes give definition to an image. Shapes abound all around, both in the man-made environment and in the natural world. Sometimes we take them for granted because they are everywhere but a keen photographer will be like a child, cognizant of the world of circles, squares, triangles, rectangles and the many types of polygons, and how they interact and create forms, patterns, silhouettes and outlines, producing images that attract and engage. We go back and see the world through the eyes of a child, engrossed in a world governed by shapes. Have a splendid week ahead my friends!

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The expressive tool of B&W

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Article Excerpt:
When we look at photographs or any images do we really need the colour aspect of the information to “see” the message the image is trying to convey? The monochrome image has been around for well over 100 years and even considering the advancements in image making and print production there remains a desire for people to see monochrome images to this day. It could be said that when we look at a monochrome image the very fact that the colour information is missing seems not to have a detrimental effect in many images…

It would be simple to say that the only discernable difference between monochrome photographs and colour photographs is the absence of colour but I believe this to be not true at all. If we are to pursue the making of fine monochrome photographs then we must understand a world with no means of chromatic expression and accept we enter a different discipline. I have seen several “colour” photographers attempt the passage into monochrome and stumble and fall without being able to fully verbalize why. The reason is that a photographer must fully understand how a particular subject will be expressed in a range of tones with the removal of colour. If monochrome is to become an expressive tool in your armoury of image making then you must eradicate the thought process “it looks good in colour so it might look good in black and white” frame of mind. If only it was that simple!
~Paul Gallagher from his article Black & White Photography – Why Take Photographs in Black and White?