A photographic sketch: Color study for surface research.

This blog post is going to serve as self critique of a set of photos, a scratch pad for ideas, and posting a new set of photos that I’m (pretty) happy with, but aren’t quite “there” yet in terms of the assignment. I’ve been meaning to write and brainstorm a bit on this assignment, so two birds with one stone and all that.

For surface studio, I was tasked with curating a collection of “found color”. My mind jumped to the set of photos I did last week, the abstract set of photos I did of the forest. One of the biggest thing I liked about those photos was how, since there was really no subject, it was a lot easier for the viewer to consider the colors and patterns independently of any feelings of or clear image of a subject.

So, for this project I was interested in doing something with photography, and something abstract.

I went to Belle Isle with my camera to see what I could do with the water there. Results were mixed. The hardest thing was balancing exposure duration: short exposures gave very clear “oh, these are water” shots no matter how much I played with colors. Longer exposures were a lot brighter (it was right at sunset and very light out) and lost some of the color and depth of the shot. Shorter exposures gave too a identifiable picture of water. On some of them I moved the camera during the exposure and that seemed to help a bit.



Again, I think some of these photos work better than others. I’m happiest with 1, 4, 5, 7 and 8. Two and three are kind of doing their own thing, they are the two most clearly identifiable as water. It’s not the worst fault this type of photo could have, but overall I think it detracts from what I’m trying to accomplish in giving an interesting color study.

I’ve got a few other things I’d like to experiment with.

First of all, I’m going to reshoot and shoot with a tighter lens. These were all shot with my 50, and that’s a little wide for my taste as far as this goes. The shots I like most out of the ones above were generally ones where I shot basically straight down along the river, getting a smaller area. However with the 70-200 I should be able to accomplish this a bit better across longer distances. We’ll see how that goes.

The other thought a friend suggested would be to crop it close in on certain areas of the image and make a lot of images out of small areas of the composition. It’s funny, I remember that this was something that my highschool art teacher especially loved to do; she’d take pieces of canvas with abstract paintings or even cropped off scraps of other pieces and make abstract arrangements with them. Very cool.

The final idea I had just now which was similar to the above would be to separate these into irregularly sized vertical bands and re-arranging them for the final prints. I haven’t played around with this too much, but that’s always a pretty direct way of breaking up a subject, is to, well, actually break it up.

That’s what I’ve got so far. I’m excited for the rest of this project, though. Let me know what you guys think!


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