As advertised, the club meeting last night featured “metallic” images by nearly everyone there, subjects ranging from the smallest of family heirloom watches to the largest industrial structures, and even one member’s wife who graciously posed for a portrait wrapped in aluminum foil. After a short social break, the meeting continued with a lively discussion pertaining to the best advice we’ve been given concerning our photography, and some of the tips and advice we’d offer to other people starting their journey in photography. Not all of which is universally agreed upon. For example, the rules of photographic composition which we’re taught from day one (the rule of thirds being the first that comes to mind) are cited as a basic law of good pictures, but in our contrarian society (okay, maybe just me), we like to debate otherwise. And a good exchange of views it was.
On the agenda for next month’s meeting (September 26th) are three items:
Hank’s presentation on bellows. If you don’t know what bellows are, you need to be there. All I could think of was Dr. Bellows, the psychiatrist in the 1960s show “I Dream of Jeannie.” But somehow, I think Hank’s presentation will follow a different path.
The theme for next month is perspective. That’s all we know. Well… perspective is a noun, which we all remember from grade school is a person, place, or thing. If perspective were a person or place, the task would be easy, but it’s not, so we must think about a thing. The definition in my dictionary of perspective addresses one aspect of the word which is: an attitude toward, or way of regarding something; a point of view. Hmmm… that really helps. Photograph a point of view? Sounds like a political argument. No thank-you. On the other hand, maybe the way that we see something, the way we arrange elements in our photographs in position relative to each other creates depth, scale or some other “thing” that turns a flat two-dimensional picture into a three-dimensional impression… or perspective. In drawing or illustration, artists use perspective to make the human body look real. In photography, we use spatial relationships between elements to make better pictures. Or, less static and flat, I should say. So instead of thinking about a person or place, think about composition.
The last item on the agenda will be a photo critique of one picture offered by each club member willing to have their photo dissected by the club. But, really, it’s not as bad as the fate of those poor frogs in high school biology. Remember, a critique is not just a criticism or outright condemnation of all things deemed to be ridiculously stupid and obvious flaws in our photos by someone with a few awards under their belt. I flinch at the words “You Should Have…” so it will be none of that. Critique is an honest appraisal of what we like about a picture, what we don’t like, what’s in the picture, lighting, technical qualities, emotional impact, and how we see elements as relating to each other (perspective), emphasizing “why” we respond to an image more than just a simple like or dislike for a picture. It’s not a matter of flinging rules of composition at you or stating unequivocally that a picture is good or bad.
If you want to share a picture for critique, please email it to me ahead of the club meeting date… the sooner the better. The best thoughts come from having had some time to think about it. I’ll also post each picture as I receive them to a Dropbox folder for all club members to be thinking about beforehand. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. If you email a picture to me and I don’t reply within 24 hours, I probably didn’t receive it. Feel free to call me at 970-241-1124 if you have questions. And please… try to keep the file size below 5 megabytes or it might get blocked in the email process, so something in the neighborhood of 2500 pixels on the long side and a good to high quality JPG setting. I can’t emphasize it enough though… this is intended as an educational event for you to see how other people respond to your picture, and possibilities to consider for improving it. And if it’s truly a great image, we’ll discern why so others can learn from it.