Technique vs Creative Expression

Like any form of art or craft, photography employs technical skills to facilitate creative expression. Because it requires the use of a sophisticated machine (rather than brushes and paint or other simple tools), the technical aspect of photography is especially important. However, once the basic mechanics have been mastered, photographers are exceptionally free to explore the creative potential of their craft, because the camera does much of the work that painters, for example, must...

Chapter

The point of departure camera setting (f 16 at 125 _of a second) provides an uncomplicated introduction to the mechanics of photography. We'll now do the same thing with composition. The first subject in photographic theory is, quite simply, line. You may recall that in geometry a line is a one-dimensional series of points. Several lines are required to define a three-dimensional shape. You could say that a line is an edge, a border between one thing and another. It can also be the connection...

What is Composition

A photograph is a rectangular frame with something in it. Yet, within that simple definition, there are countless possibilities. Before you can begin to achieve some of those possibilities, you will need to learn how to make certain decisions with precision and creativity. First of all, you'll need to decide what to place within that rectangular frame. Then you'll need to decide how to place it. Should it fill the whole frame or just a part of it Should it be placed toward the top or bottom of...

Glossary

Aperture Ring The ring on the lens of a manual camera which controls the size of the aperture. Aperture The size of the lens opening. Apertures are measured by dividing the focal length of the lens by the diameter of the opening. For example a lens with a focal length of 50mm opened to a diameter of 6mm would produce an aperture (or f-stop) of f 8, or 1 8 the focal length. ASA ISO Standard numbers indicating film speed. Cable Release A flexible cable which takes the place of a camera's shutter...

Putting It All Together

Photographers may be divided into two or more sides on manual vs. automatic cameras 35mm vs. large format film B& W vs. color darkroom manipulation vs. straight prints. One of the most divisive issues concerns the ultimate test of a photographer's skill. Ansel Adams, not surprisingly, believed that landscapes deserved that title. Others have argued that the ultimate test is portraiture, photojournalism or advertising. Still others have suggested that plain old street photography any...

Info

Margaret Bourke-White, Airship Akron, Winner Goodyear Zeppelin Race, 1931. Margaret Bourke-White, Airship Akron, Winner Goodyear Zeppelin Race, 1931. A flair for the exotic and a sophisticated sense of humor are important assets in fashion photography. Photograph by Bane Kapsu. Mixed in with these general categories are numerous photographic specialties scientific, sports, underwater, travel, architectural, art reproduction, etc. Matching your skills and interests to one of these niches may be...

Ethiopian Bride Yousef Karsh

The SLR single lens reflex camera introduced to the U.S. by Exacta. Automatic exposure initiated by Kodak with its 6-20 Electronic flash developed by Dr. Harold Edgerton. First Polaroid camera developed by Edwin Land. First high-speed film, Tri-X, comes onto market. Yousef Karsh, Ethiopian Bride, 1963. Courtesy Woodfin Camp and Associates. cepted as an art in its own right. Photojournalists were a major source of information and insight for the general public a role that has since been largely...

Double Exposure

The ghostly figure in this photograph is one of the intriguing effects possible with double-exposure. Studentphotograph by Anne Nowak. Assignment Combine two images into a single photograph either by double-exposing a single frame of film or by using two separate negatives to produce one print. Goal Strive for a unified effect. The trick to a double-exposed photograph is to achieve visual coherence an image that makes sense to the viewer. This does not mean that the image needs to be entirely...

Starting Simply

Your first assignments will be based on a point of departure that will enable you to produce technically successful photographs without getting bogged down in details. You will be using a standard aperture and shutter-speed setting f 16 at 1 125 of a second. By using one standard setting, you'll be able to concentrate on learn ing how to see with a camera. In addition, starting with this setting will help you learn how the camera works. This, in turn, will provide a basis for all your future...

H C S H

James Vanderzee Funeral

Eadweard Muybridge, Attitudes of Animals in Motion, c 1881. At the same time, another group of photographers were dealing with the purely aesthetic issue of how photography relates to the traditional arts, particularly painting. Is photography an art at all If so, how should it be used What should art photography look like These same questions continue to provoke discussion and argument even today. Photography is still defining itself. By the 1850s, two opposing factions of artist-photographers...

Circles Ovals

Use at least one roll of film to shoot only circles and ovals. You may have other shapes in the photographs as well, but be sure that each frame is dominated by one or more circular shapes. You may want to set up some of the shots try experimenting with a cup and saucer, with spoons, plates or bowls , but at least half of your shots should be of found circles or ellipses i.e. ones that you just happen to see in your yard, neighborhood or town . Try to find a variety of compositions using...

Exercise

By now you should be familiar with all the components that have an effect on the shutter. Let's take a look at them all in action. Set your shutter speed to B and your lens to its largest aperture remember, that's the lowest number . Make sure the film advance lever has been wound, to cock the shutter. Open your camera back. Aim the lens at any convenient light source. While looking at the shutter screen, press the shutter release button and hold it down. You should find yourself looking...

Evaluating A Print

Take a look at the photograph to the left which we will use as an example photograph for the next few pages. Like most of the photographs in this book, it was taken by a student. Ask yourself the three questions mentioned above What's good about it What's not good What could be better As you ask these questions, a fourth one may come to mind Where do you start a photograph, will start by saying whether they like it or not. People tend to like a photograph when they like what's in it, and to...

History

There is no single correct answer to the question of how and when photography began. No one person can be credited with inventing it. Instead, it emerged through centuries of tinkering. made between 1816 and 1840. The first recorded discovery that certain chemicals turned black when exposed to light was made in 1725. The basic design of the cameras we use today has been in use since the 1500s. The Chinese figured it out even longer ago than that as early as the fourth century. So, photography...

D

Please read pages 10-15 in The Photographic Eye Learning to See with a Camera. Fill in this worksheet as you read. You are responsible for the material to be read. Be sure to spend some time looking at the pictures. 1. Photography began as a curiosity and has grown into a . influence on our society. 2. We encounter hundreds of photographs every day, some with tremendous impact, some with 3. How long has photography been around Any guess over years would be reasonably correct. 5. No one person...

J

Nant subject an object or person that attracts the most attention. Usually, but not always, the dominant subject is the largest object in the frame. Sometimes it is a relatively small object that is carefully placed to command the most attention. It may also be a cluster of several objects or people. Positioning the dominant subject of a photograph in a zone is called weighting. A photograph may be weighted toward the top, bottom, center or to either side. It may also be weighted toward any...

Presentation

Mounting Prints Any photograph that is to be displayed, even just for a class crit, should be mounted. This will prevent the photograph from curling and help to protect it from accidental damage. There are several ways to mount a phonograph. The most common is to use Jr mount issue in a heated mounting press. This procedure is explained below. Another, more sophisticated technique is to use a vacuum press, in which a special spray is used instead of the dry mount tissue. The simplest technique...

Processing

Pour the developer already diluted to the proper strength, if necessary into the mouth of the developing tank and cap it. 2. Immediately after pouring, shake the tank to ensure that the film is evenly covered. Then bang the tank down a few times hard to dislodge any 3. Agitate the tank for specified periods of time, at specified intervals. Read the instructions packaged with the developer and or film and follow them exactly. Both too much and too little agitation can ruin your photographs....

Bicycle

Assignment Photograph a bicycle from various angles. Goal Explore the idea that there is more than one way to look at any object. Once you start really looking, the possibilities are endless. Tips Get in close and shoot parts of the bicycle pedals, spokes, handlebars, seat, light, kickstand, gears, etc. Get even closer and shoot details of the parts a portion of the gears, the handgrip of the handlebars, the joint of the kickstand. Then pull back a bit and look for patterns the various lines...

Photographic Careers

The number of people who earn a living wage from any art is always relatively small. Photography is certainly a case in point. Most photographers are hobbyists who take pictures for pleasure. Even many of the best-known art photographers pay their bills by doing commercial photography or other work on the side. Unfortunately, being good or even the best won't necessarily make any difference. Many excellent photographers have died penniless. At least a few have made good livings without having...

Monotone

Assignment Do a series of photographs with a very limited range of values black on black, white on white, or gray on gray. This assignment is similar to the eggs assignment, with two important differences 1 variations in value caused by shadows, highlights, etc. should be avoided as much as possible, and 2 any tone is acceptable not just white . In addition, you are not required to photograph your subject against a background. You may prefer to crop in so...

Grain Diffusion

Assignment Use ISO 3200 film for enhanced grain with some form of diffuser over your lens to produce a very soft image. Goal To experiment with the effects produced by deliberately avoiding crisp focus and lighting. Tips There are a number of ways to diffuse the light and with it the image coming through your lens. You can use a conventional fog filter, available at modest cost at many camera stores. Or you can shoot through textured glass such as a shower door, an antique window, or a crystal...

Elders

Assignment Do a series of portraits of old people grandmothers, uncles, aunts, neighbors, etc. Goal Notice that faces get very expressive as they grow older. You can often tell what kind of life a person has led just by looking at his or her face. Try to capture something of your subject's whole life in your photographs. Tips With the elderly, it is even more important than usual to get clear permission. Depending on how old and how healthy your subject is, the idea of being photographed may...

Rain Composition

Rain Use Umbrella

Assignment Do a series of photographs of a rainy day. Goal Explore how objects, people and the earth interact with rain. What moods does rain provoke How does it change the way people and things look and act Tips A light drizzle is generally better than a heavy downpour. Look for how the light is striking the rain itself. Especially if it's raining and sunny at same time, the results can be stunning. You might try using a flash to highlight the rain. Just be sure to keep it dry You can shoot...

Money

Color film costs more than black and white. It also costs more to develop and print. While shooting many photographs of a single subject is just as good an idea in color as in black and white, it is expensive. So, experiment to your heart's content at the start. Later, once your experience grows and your wallet shrinks , you'll probably want to be more conservative. Try to make every shot count. Don't stop bracketing, but be careful not to waste color film on...

Cropping

This exercise begins much like the previous one. First, locate the Cropping L's template at the back of this book. Trace it, dry-mount it onto mat board and cut out the L's. They are called L's because they're shaped like L's. Place the L's on top of the photograph on this page. See if you can find a better or at least different composition within that photograph by adjusting the L's. Try cropping in on one small detail. Try trimming out any unnecessary details or background. Try shifting the...