Learning to anticipate the translation of three-dimensional scenes into two-dimensional images begins with recognizing that each element gets flattened and becomes … a series of lines and tones that can be rearranged, balanced and played against each other as we play with optics and angles. We arrange those lines and tones within the constraints of the frame.
— David duChemin in Photographically Speaking
Do you see it? The flattening of the frame, the objects as lines and tones. Can you see the basic shapes, and how they are balanced with each other?
If you don’t see it, try it in black and white. Blur your eyes. Do you see the shapes yet? How they balance?
While I am attracted to the complementary color contrast of the yellow and purple in the original image, the balance of shapes works in black and white as well.
I started reading David duChemin’s latest book this morning, and as always his words resonate with me. The quote at the top of the post was especially striking, with my recent fascination, discussed in Exploring with a Camera: Balancing Shapes. This is an important concept to grasp – that the elements in a photograph are not really the “things” you are photographing, but the are lines and tones and shapes arranged within the frame. And, the most exciting part, we as the photographers get to choose that arrangement. We choose what to include and exclude.
Do you see it yet? Does it excite you as much as it does me?