Definitions from the “a photogenic world” dictionary:

Negative Space (noun) – a place where a pre-digital photographer stores their proofs and film stock.

Or maybe this:

Negative Space (noun) – a geographical area devoid of possibilities, for example Darlington today where amongst the hundreds of people teeming around High Row I failed to find a suitable subject for almost an hour.

Or it could be:

Negative Space (noun) – the location between the writer’s ears, and the limiting beliefs contained therein which explain why amongst the hundreds of people teeming around High Row I failed to find a suitable subject for almost an hour.

I’ve written before about the types of people that I’m reluctant to approach for a portrait, and today those self imposed filters worked against me.  I was reminded of the Henry Ford maxim “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right.”

Eventually, after rejecting some perfectly good possibilities I encountered Lorraine and Julia in conversation, but their body language suggested they were each about to walk away in opposite directions.  If I waited a little while one of them must surely pass my way.  Of course as I thought this they each turned slightly to give the other more attention.  Clearly the conversation was going to last longer than anticipated.  I very nearly gave up at that point but with limited other chances to photograph someone later in the day I decided to abandon one of my “rules” about photographing pairs.

After a little token resistance, “I’m not photogenic”, “I haven’t any make up on.” and “Can I wear my sunglasses?” I got their agreement, though the result is more of a snap than a portrait (one of the usual outcomes when not shooting an individual).  Not photogenic my ****!

Perhaps unsurprisingly, once I’d captured a picture I spotted lots of other possible subjects who had come my way too late to make it onto today’s space on my memory card.

One of the reasons that I don’t like shooting pairs is the tendency to create a balance with each either side of some notional centre line.  With an individual I can make use of negative space.

Negative Space (noun) – in photographic composition a neutral or featureless background that by its lack of content directs your attention to the main subject.

With photoshop I can create something that I didn’t capture in camera.  (Sorry Lorraine, but it was easier to achieve this effect with Julia’s position in the original!)


One thought on “Negative spaces and a positive outcome.

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