Sunday, April 25, 2010

Look at this

click photo to enlarge
One of the pleasures of photography is that it lets us re-live childhood. Or to be more specific, an aspect of childhood. When children gaze upon the world they are captivated by its peculiarities, singularities and great variety. I remember my oldest son aged about one year old, sitting in his pushchair on a path next to a field, looking at a donkey that had come to look at him, and absolutely laughing his head off with delight at what he had never seen before. At other times my children would seize me and take me to look at something they had found - a fallen branch, a hole under a rock, an insect on a bench - things that adults would pass by, but which they, seeing them for the first time, would recognise as fascinating and worthy of deeper examination and reflection. "Look at this!" they would say. And that is the aspect of childhood that photographers re-discover when they turn their camera loose upon the world; the ability to look with fresh eyes at everyday objects and present them in such a way as to say "Look at this!"

Today's photograph is that kind of image. Standing on a Thames-side path in London, with a clear blue sky above, a row of plane trees and street lights by my side, I was motivated by the shape of the tree silhouetted against the plain background to take a photograph. It was probably those knobbly branches with the tendril-like fresh growth at the end of each one that caught my eye. Considering it I decided that, rather than compose an image of the tree alone, I would include a street light and introduced contrast and a compositional element that would allow me to place the tree off-centre yet retain balance. It isn't the greatest photograph I've ever made, but its starkness, interest and juxtaposioion are enough for me to say, "Look at this!"

photograph & text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Lumix LX3
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 5.4mm (26mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f5.6
Shutter Speed: 1/800
ISO: 80
Exposure Compensation: -1.0 EV
Image Stabilisation: On