Saturday, May 20, 2006

Selection and abstraction

click photo to enlarge
Photography is, in the main, a subtractive art. The viewfinder is capable of showing everything before us, and our job is to make sure that it either shows, or gives emphasis to, that which we want to be the main point of the photograph. So that means eliminating the unneccesary. We usually do this by selecting lenses with different fields of view (or using a zoom lens), or by choosing our position, and hence point of view, very carefully.

However, sometimes we want to reduce the information in the composition to the point where an element of abstraction creeps into the photograph. The resulting image will usually include recognisable objects, but the way in which those objects are arranged will be part of the point of the final image. That was what I attempted in this photograph.

The "subject" of the photograph is the Lower Lighthouse at Fleetwood, Lancashire. But the image also includes sky, the side wall of the North Euston Hotel, yellow ornamental flowers and green bushes (both in front of the Wyre Magistrates Court building). So, the composition comprises five elements, four of which are essentially big patches of colour, and one (the lighthouse) that is more complex, and the point of focus.

This "simple" image was quite hard to set up, and needed a long focal length lens to compress the elements into one view. I'd have been happier with it if the lighthouse had been in sharper focus, but I think the final outcome has something to commend it. It's a shot that I'll take again and seek to improve.
photograph & text (c) T. Boughen