I’ve been reading Roberto Valenzuela’s book Picture Perfect Practice, largely for the fact that it requires you to complete regular assignments to incorporate some of the content into your experience. Much of it may be familiar, but then it never does any harm to embed best practice into your methodology.
The first chapter relates to our ability, developed in childhood to recognise geometric shapes, an ability grown through childhood games with pegs and hammers, shape matching and the like. Squares, circles, triangles, rectangles, arches and lines can all be brought into play.
Thinking about this I was immediately reminded of a TV programme from my childhood called Play School. Like so many programmes for the very young it incorporated games, songs, and stories, but the feature that most people remember was that in every programme there was a short piece of film. What made it memorable was that the film was always viewed through a choice of windows; square, round or arched. Even at that age I was being introduced to geometry as a means of framing the image.
Of course there is more than just framing that can be done with geometry. Because our eye recognises these shapes they can be used to bring balance to an image with a strong subject elsewhere in the frame, or simply be used as part of the environment of the image.
The book requires me to go and photograph 5-10 images of a number of these shapes, purely as a way of reawakening the childhood ability to spot them easily, the theory being that to be able to use them, you have to see them first.
Fair enough. I had a little time before a solicitor’s appointment last Friday and began looking around me for my first targets; squares. At first I found the exercise a little obvious, just spotting square elements seemed to offer little value, but soon I began to play with the concept a little; a group of 6 square windows given more interest by framing a reflected tree in just one of them.
Soon I was enjoying the challenge and found a couple of shots worth a bit of HDR treatment. Sadly my appointment prevented me from enjoying the Westoe Brewery’s product.
I continued the theme yesterday with a few more subtle attempts to incorporate squares. I’d better up my pace to get through the rest of the shapes, because the author demands that you complete one shape before moving onto the next!