All artists and that includes photographers, suffer from periods when their creative juices slow down or cease to flow. Enthusiasm for their art wanes. Finding inspiration to make new work is in short supply. I feel that I have been in that space for a little while now. Slowly but surely though I sense things are beginning to change.Read more
There are many quotes attributed to Henri Cartier-Bresson, one of them being that – “Sharpness is a bourgeois concept”. With this image I have taken his saying quite literally. To an extreme in fact because there is absolutely nothing sharp or in focus anywhere in the frame. As a consequence this picture is sure to divide opinion.
When I took the shot I quite deliberatly adjusted the focus ring to give me an out of focus image. It was also shot with a wide aperture opening to minimise the depth of field, further ensuring a blurred image. The light was reasonably good and with a maximum shutter speed on my camera of 1/4000th of a second, I had to use a 3 stop ND filter to avoid blown highlights. In processing I added grain, a vignette and split toned the image.
Ignoring the complete lack of any sharpness the viewer can still discern a man, virtually a silhouette, standing on the beach watching his dog standing in the water. The ripples of the sea along the foreshore and the distant land mass on the horizon provide a sense of depth, and the placement of the man and his dog on the intersection of the thirds gives balance to the overall composition. There is also a triangle which is formed from the man’s head, out to the dog and back to the man’s feet.
I know this is what might be described as a ‘marmite’ shot – you either love it or hate it. Or perhaps you simply can’t understand why the photographer couldn’t at the very least focus his camera properly!
So does this image appeal to the viewer or is it quickly rejected for being technically poor because nothing is sharp, even though that was my intention at the outset? Does this very soft image portray a mood or feeling which would be non existent if the image had been sharp from front to back? There are so many questions and in my view there are no right or wrong answers. It’s my creative vision of a simple scene – one man and his dog, alone on the shoreline…..and the rest is down to your interpretation and imagination.
As always your comments and thoughts on this post would be most welcome.
As regular visitors to my blog will know my first love is black and white, but sometimes mono will not suffice and colour is an essential ingredient of the scene being photographed.
I don’t usually head out with the express intention of taking colour images. I normally only reach for for my Olympus EM1 when taking portraits of people who work for my firm. These images will then appear on our website or be used for PR purposes in a printed publication or on social media.
And so it was earlier this week. I had taken a few shots of a new member of staff in the morning, and as I headed home that evening the low tide and beautiful sky combined to provide me with a classical sunset seascape opportunity. I had to pull over, swap work shoes for wellies and walk out towards the shoreline. The light was fading fast so I didn’t have time to search for the best position nor did I have a tripod. A dozen quick fire shots was all I could manage before the best of the light disappeared below the horizon.
Do I want to do more colour work? Probably yes, and I have some ideas for this year which will lend themselves to colour and not black and white – so watch this space!
Thanks as always for dropping by.
In my last post ‘Low tide at East Head’ I included a variety coastal images – I guess they were the ones I anticipated I might be taking before I left home and set off for the coast. What I didn’t envisage capturing was this shot of a land sailor backlit by the late afternoon sun. The sand flats at East Head provide large areas of beach ideal for this exhilarating sport. There wasn’t much wind, just enough to move the craft from east to west along the shoreline and back again. I had to take a number of shots to make sure that I had the sail in line with setting sun, throwing the sailor into silhouette.
Do click on the image to view a larger and therefore more detailed version. This will open in a new window.
A few weeks ago I had the day off work and was watching the weather forecast and the tide times with more than a degree of interest. I knew that the tide was going to be very low in the afternoon and the forecast was indicating that early morning cloud and rain would clear around lunchtime as well.
A trip down to East Head in West Wittering was planned, and being out of season and a normal work day, I did not expect to see many other people. A low tide, improving weather and no people should be good recipe for a few photographs of this wonderful Sussex coastline.
This is a location which is never stays the same, the tide and light constantly changing, revealing endless photographic opportunities to be enjoyed and captured.
Do click on any of the images to view a larger version which will open in a new window.
Here are some links to more entries which feature this particular location.