Starting now, Friday, August 1, and running through Thursday, August 7, our Collective Shoot #95 will be: Changing Our Perspective Collective Shoot #95 will, I hope, be both fun and a learning experience for all of us. Webster’s Dictionary tells us that the word perspective derives through Old English from the original Latin words perspectus (of sight) and the past participle of perspicere (to look through, see clearly). As photographers we get to be little gods that not only decide how WE see, but also how we want OTHERS to see. The goal of this shoot is to have each of us present photos (up to three) that convey a specific perspective on a subject that we as gods are trying to convey. Ideally we will discuss what we have tried to achieve, and perhaps present an ALTERNATIVE perspective that we considered as well. Webster goes on to give us some aid in thinking about perspective. With the luxury of a little free translation, Webster outlines some definitions of perspective: TWO (FOUR, REALLY) CATEGORIES OF PERSPECTIVE 1. Linear visual perspective. Webster defines linear perspective as the technique of representing on a plane or curved surface the spatial relation of objects as they might appear to the eye. The obvious example is the classic “disappearing point” taught in art classes and architectural schools. The road that narrows to a point in the distance. Or a representation of an object, a building say, whose wall lines suggest such a distant “disappearing point”. Or simply a matter of scale, with distant objects smaller and less vivid than the near. But let’s see if we can find some fresh applications to apply these old visual rules to…or violate them as you see fit (after all, you are the god, and if you wish to be Grandma Moses, you can be). 2. Contextual visual perspective. Webster defines this as a mental view of the interrelation of a subject and/or its parts. Or the capacity to view things in their true relations or relative importance. We as photographers can create this contextual perspective. We can direct our viewer to a way of looking at or thinking about something. We can order the response of the viewer, so they “get it”. But while the dictionary emphasizes “true relations or importance”, here is where we really get to play god…because WE decide what the “true relationships” are that we wish the viewer to “get”. When applied to photography, there are at least three categories to draw from in creating this type of perspective: · Visual context. Just about every photo trick known to man… to include, exclude, widen, narrow, focus, obscure, etc. For example, an inclusive, close-focus wide angle shot of a table-full of food versus more laid back “normal” perspective. · Cognitive or Mental context. Anything that makes us logically connect-the-dots. For example, an open cola can shown in three different environments…beaded with sweat at a picnic, perched on the edge of a recycling bin, poking through a pile of garbage, etc. · Emotional context. Portrayal in such a way as to evoke joy, sadness, fear, pensiveness, anger, or other emotional reactions, etc. Or to convey a given mood. For example, a little boy sitting by himself beside a piece of child-sized luggage in an airport waiting lounge. What is going on? As opposed to a broader view showing his parents sitting nearby. I really look forward to seeing how you might combine these various approaches to create and convey your own photographic perspectives or points-of-view. THE NITTY-GRITTY GUIDELINES Again, The goal of this shoot is to have each of us present photos that convey an intentional, considered perspective on a subject. And ideally include how or why you chose to shoot and present the subject the way you did, and how you think it works photographically. And again, ideally, perhaps an alternative perspective for each subject This may be a stretch for some (I know it is for me – it’s a long way from sports shooting) but it can be great fun and I hope you will participate and give it a try. To keep things simple, I’d suggest that you confine each subject to a separate post (although include alternatives in that same post). Up to three post each (I just have a hunch some of you are going to be really creative). Pictures to be included can be shot anytime after 12:01am Friday morning, August 1st in your own time zones, and pictures must be posted no later than 11:59 on Thursday, August 7th, again in your own time zones. Please post no larger than 900 pixels on the widest side. And If you can’t shoot for some reason but have a picture that fits the goals and you really want to post, well, go ahead. Nobody will shout at you. J EXAMPLES I’ll start it out with two examples…one for each of the two perspectives. Example #1 - Linear Perspective Here are two examples of linear perspective…each has a virtual disappearing point…in the Easthampton Bicycle photo it is clearly beyond the lower right hand corner. In the other picture, it is up, up, up, way out of the top of the picture. I think you will agree that without the proper perspective this is a pretty nondescript building.(remember now, this is “god” speaking and I can call them proper if I want )J The photo immediately above is the side of the building as I stumbled upon it. The green sign is where the “Easthampton Bicycle” sign was. I was first attracted by the sign itself, but in studying angles quickly realized that I could create a strong “disappearing point” photo by sitting down on the sidewalk and shooting up at a sharp angle. I think the photo works because the blue sign, the roofline, and the ornate masonry line all strongly point to the “disappearing point”. and the wedge of blue sky on the right actually helps concentrate it into appearing closer than it really is. The zoom lens allowed me to compose in-camera. The angles and the convergence on the "front shot" are less dramatic, and the shot lacks the reinforcing elements. Accordingly the picture lacks the punch of the first, in my opinion. Example #2 - Contextual Perspective In this example, I wanted to create a romantic view of a patch of Brown-Eyed Susans. But I didn’t have such a view at hand. Here is what I came up with: Does this pic suggest a spring garden with a bucolic landscape behind it, perhaps a farm house? Does this also present the garden, with the vertical flowers perhaps suggesting umbrellas or toadstools and lending a bit of fairy-tale ambiance, a la “Mary Poppins” or “Alice in Wonderland”? Well, here is the reality of the site: Not very romantic is it…a scraggly bed of flowers at a suburban roadside intersection. The trick was to get up close and use a wide-angle (17mm) on the flowers, along with an open, but not too open, aperture (f/2.8). The wide angle emphasized the depth behind the flowers and included the bed of other flowers….the aperture gave enough detail to indicate the flower bed, the house, and the trees, but not so much as to show literally what they were. So in this case I used camera tricks to conjure up a different visual and emotional context for the picture. At any rate, I've had my turn and my fun....now it's yours. I'm sure you'll come up with much more creative stuff.....let's see it!