alan frost photography

in monochrome with occasional colour lapses

Posts tagged ‘Leica Monochrom’

Main Exit – dissecting the visual components of a photograph

Main Exit

Main Exit

I often ask myself the question – ‘Why does a photograph interest me and hold my attention for more than a few nano seconds? What are the various components of the image that make it visually appealing to me and maybe to others?’

In answer to these questions I thought I would try and dissect the key elements of this photograph which I have called – Main Exit. Do click on the image to view a larger version as this will help you see all the detail in the picture.

To begin, the image is monochrome; obvious I know, but a colour image of the same picture simply wouldn’t be as interesting. This shot is all about tone, texture, contrast and the overall composition. Colour would be a distraction. There is though a subtle tone which has been applied in post processing, which may not be immediately apparent.

The main focal point is the man in the top right hand corner walking into the building. We can’t see all of his body or his head, but we do see a reflection of his pale jacket and he stands out against the dark background. White on black will always draw the eye. He is framed within a dark square which ties in well with the square crop of the image itself. It’s virtually a picture within a picture.

A square crop doesn’t always work but in this example I think it enhances the overall composition. There is a strong diagonal lead in line from the bottom left hand corner which takes your eye to the main subject of the picture. There are paler lines in the ground which also lead the eye. These are in contrast to the vertical lines of the modern windows. The ground also slopes upwards, so that the metal base of the building narrows to a point where it meets the man. This aids perspective and adds to the sense of depth.

Reflections always provide visual interest because they distort reality. The older buildings are all askew, there is half a car and half a waste bin. Behind the glass there is a person sitting down  which begs the question as to what’s inside and the purpose of the building itself.

Top right there is a sign which says ‘Main Exit’ but the arrow points in the opposite direction to the man entering the building – has he gone through the wrong door?

As well as being a contrasty image there is also the visual contrast of the new and old buildings, the young person behind the window and the older person walking through the door. The contrast in texture between the ground and the mirror like surface of the windows.

Lastly a border has been added to provide a frame round the image.

For me it makes a visually appealing image, as the sum of all the component parts make for an intriguing story, complete with different textures and tones, all held together by strong compositional and geometric elements as well.

I have found this exercise beneficial and I hope you have enjoyed my ‘dissection’ of a photograph interesting. Arguably the approach could work just as well on images that you don’t like, as well as the ones that do. It’s worth a try.

 

 

 

 

Shadows of Light

Shadows of Light

 

In my last post ‘Shadows of the Wanderer’, the shadows referred to people or refugees, whereas in this shot made on the same day, shadows are formed by the strong sunlight as it pierces through the leaded light mullioned windows of the cloisters in Chichester Cathedral.

To emphasise these shapes of light I have increased the contrast, darkened the foreground, obliterating any detail in the flagstone floor whilst retaining  minimal information in the wall and around the windows themselves.

Do click on the image to view a larger version which will open in a new window.  

‘Shadows of the Wanderer’ in Chichester Cathedral

This is a truly wonderful and thought provoking exhibition by the artist Ana Maria Pacheco, which is currently on display in the North Transept of Chichester Cathedral in West Sussex, and runs until the 14th November.

 

Shadows of the Wanderer (6 of 10)

 

There are ten figures all wearing dark robes, each one carved from a single lime tree, with eyes made of onyx.  The two central figures, again carved from a single piece of wood, depict a man carrying an elderly person. Based on Virgil’s Aeneid from 29BC, Aeneas carries his lame father on his back to escape the burning ruins of Troy. The other figures in the shadows have very differing expressions and postures, which provoke a wide range of emotions in the viewer. As you take in the scene it is impossible to escape the synergy with todays issues of migration and people fleeing from their homes in a stricken country, all seeking refuge in another place.

 

Shadows of the Wanderer (3 of 10)

 

I rarely photograph art installations or exhibitions, as they can turn out to be nothing more than record shots. However I felt this was different, as the sculptures gave themselves to a form of portraiture, which also allowed me to make a set of images which I hope does justice to the artist’s work.

I was very fortunate to find myself in the Cathedral at a time when a single shaft of light from a high window moved through the ‘shadows’ to illuminate just one figure in the scene, almost as if the light of God was showing them the way.

 

Shadows of the Wanderer (10 of 10)

 

Shadows of the Wanderer (8 of 10)

 

Shadows of the Wanderer (2 of 10)

 

Shadows of the Wanderer (5 of 10)

 

Shadows of the Wanderer (7 of 10)

 

Shadows of the Wanderer (9 of 10)

 

Shadows of the Wanderer (4 of 10)

 

Shadows of the Wanderer (1 of 10)

 

For further information and to read more about ‘Shadows of the Wanderer’ please click here.

Do click on any of the images to view a larger version which will open in a new window.

Churches Project no.16 – A return to North Stoke, West Sussex

North Stoke-9

 

There is something to be said for returning to a location or indeed a church which I have previously visited. The benefit of familiarity and the knowledge of the images taken before, help me to see things with a fresh pair of eyes, to explore new angles and find fresh compositions. The light can of course be different even in the interior of a church building, so a return visit can hopefully yield some new images.

This was certainly the case when I went back to St Mary the Virgin in North Stoke last week. It’s a particular favourite of mine so whether or not I was able to make some more images didn’t really matter, as I was more than happy to be in this historic and rather timeless place of peace and solitude. I hope the four images in this post help to convey this feeling.

Cared for by The Churches Conservation Trust, the church is no longer used for regular worship but is still consecrated.

If you would like to read the original entry about North Stoke Church and see more photographs then please click here.

 

North Stoke-10

 

North Stoke-11

 

North Stoke-8

 

As always do click on any of the images to view a larger version which will open in a new window.

Churches Project no. 15 – St Andrew, Winterborne Tomson, Dorset

Winterborne Tomson Church-2

 

For such a small and simple church, there is so much to admire and enjoy here. For starters the very location of St Andrew in the tiny hamlet of Winterborne Tomson is a delight. Rural and unspoilt, the church backs onto a dairy farm and I like the way the farm building behind the church echoes the shape of the church itself. There is a manor house on the other side of the narrow road which leads down to the church plus a thatched cottage for neighbours.

 

Winterborne Tomson Church-3

 

Winterborne Tomson Church-4

 

It’s not until you enter through the west door that the simple beauty of this church reveals itself. Built of flint and stone in the 12th Century, this single cell church has a most unusual apsidal east end with a plastered wagon roof of slender beams and decorative bosses. All the bleached oak furnishings which include box pews, the pulpit and sounding board above, the screen and altar rail, have turned silver grey over the years. They date from the 18th Century and were provided by William Wake, the Archbishop of Canterbury from 1716 to 1737. He would worship in this church when staying with his family who lived nearby. Apparently he loved the simplicity of the church compared to the grandeur and opulence of the cathedrals. I can empathise with his feelings and for me this place reminded me of another church in Warminghurst in West Sussex which you can read about here.

 

Winterborne Tomson Church-5

 

Winterborne Tomson Church-8

 

Winterborne Tomson Church-6

 

Winterborne Tomson Church-7

 

It’s hard to believe that less than 100 years ago the church was used by the local farm for pigs, fowl and other animals, but very fortunately was saved from complete ruin in 1931. Money was raised from the sale of some Thomas Hardy manuscripts by the The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings and this was used to pay for much needed repairs. The work was overseen by the architect A R Powys, who was Secretary to the Society. On his death he was buried in the churchyard and a plaque can be seen inside the church, commemorating his work. Given its history it’s perhaps no surprise that this church is now cared for by the Churches Conservation Trust, and whilst still consecrated, is only used on a handful of occasions during the year.

 

Winterborne Tomson Church-10

 

Winterborne Tomson Church-1

 

Lastly and to put this church in the context of its setting I have included an image taken just yards form the church itself.

 

Winterborne Tomson Church-9

 

Dorset is providing a rich source of lovely churches, so I will certainly be back there in the future so that I can add to my ‘Churches Project’ collection.

Do click on any of the images to view a larger version in a new window.