Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Blind abstraction

click photo to enlarge
The camera lets us see the world in a different way. A viewfinder's rectangle of light focuses our attention on whatever it is pointed at, and, if we care to, we can acquire new insights into our surroundings through it: the mundane can become marvellous.

The other day I set myself the task of getting a photograph out of a set of vertical blinds. I had done this once before here, but finding a second shot from this limited subject matter is challenging. Maybe it's analogous to the well known "second album" predicament that afflicts many bands - the best ideas are invariably used up first! However, I think self-set problems of this sort are helpful to any enthusiastic amateur photographer, because it encourages us to think and see more deeply.

The shot I came up with works (for me) because of the limited range of colours and the shadows. However it is the beaded string that is the eye-catcher. Consequently my main concern was to incorporate all the available tones in a balanced composition that featured the string and its shadow. So, I included slats and their shadows to left and right, and enough of the window sill to include both sunlit and shadowed parts, and I made them split the image horizontally. The final composition is fairly symmetrical, with beaded string and its shadow introducing contrary elements. I'm reasonably satisfied with the shot. I think it works best if you forget what it is, and see it as just a collection of abstract forms. Then, I think, it has something of a painterly feel to it.

This isn't a natural way of working, nor does it produce images that have a wide appeal: in fact some will think this is a nothing sort of a shot. But, I do think the process has merit, and I commend it to anyone who wants to break the habit of taking photographs of the same type of thing over and over again. Now, how can I get a third shot out of these blinds?!!
photograph & text (c) T. Boughen