Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Serendipity Again

Serendipity, defined as "an apparent aptitude for making fortunate discoveries accidentally," has been a major theme in my photography. I've written about it before, here and here. I keep bringing up the subject because I believe that with some attention and awareness you can learn to use it to improve your photography also. Here are three more ways to cultivate the muse.
Go for Bold Graphics

Greenville Museum of Art
Olympus OM, 28mm Zuiko, Kodachrome 64

Even on days when you can't find much to photograph, you can often find subjects that lend themselves to a bold, graphic treatment. As a bonus, the harsh light and deep shadows which make mid-day so inappropriate for many subjects often enhance graphic shots. An assignment to produce a book about the city of Greenville, SC, did not permit the luxury of photographing only in morning and evening light. This view of the Greenville Museum of Art was made in early afternoon with strong light flooding the scene while storm clouds drifted in overhead became the cover of the book.

Make Color the Message
Paintpots, Kids Outdoor Art Class
Pentax 6x7, 105mm Takumar lens, Fujichrome 100

 Another way to find photographs when none seem to be available is to look for color: bold color, subtle color, contrasting colors, complementing colors. This is easier than it sounds, and once you've opened your eyes to the colors all around you, you'll be amazed at what you've been missing. The great Jay Maisel is a master at this and any photographer can learn a great deal by studying his work. 

I happened by just after small children at an outdoor art class had left their paint pots and gone on to another activity at the Chattanooga, Tennessee RiverPark.

Look for Story-telling Details

Civil War Bugle
Chickamauga National Battlefield
Nikkormat, Vivitar 100mm lens, Kodachrome 64
If you're like me, you may spend too much time looking for the black-buster, tell-it-all-in-one picture and overlook the smaller, detail shots. But very often it's the details which give a real sense of what a place or event is all about. Photographing a Civil War re-enactment, I covered the marches, the camp life, the interaction between the characters. But it is this close-up of a bugle hanging on a tent pole which most completely captures the feel of the event.

No comments:

Post a Comment