Pick a pic (6/?)

“What is the greatest distance at which subject-matter could be convincingly described?” is a well-known and still interesting photographic problem. Most internet photo critique and review insist on the fact that subject matter should be closer. It is very rarely that people think the opposite, but I believe that trying to describe a subject at the greatest possible distance is something exciting … and challenging.

There are not so many pics in my PF that gives me satisfactory result for that matter. I am thinking of several images from Harry Callahan that were important for me to get aware of the problem, as well as this one from Garry Winogrand which is also important for me.

For assessing this specific issue I need more time and “thinking” than my usual street-shots which tend to be more and more instinctive. I believe that dealing with great distance requires a more crafted composition, or at least less casual. Because the energy is hard to find, and instead you have to look for a strong tension, or mood… so well I still have to cut my teeth on that issue but here are two pics I did recently that gave me some satisfaction.

Remote smoker

Remote smoker

"beyond the goal"

"beyond the goal"

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6 thoughts on “Pick a pic (6/?)

  1. I’ve been on a kick lately as well where I put the subject far away in the scene. You’ve done well with these two photos. I think it is much harder to do the minimalist thing with black & white than in color.

    Making a very small subject not get lost among everything else is quite the task. With color you can pick a subject that has a very contrasting color against everything else in the scene to make it pop up.

  2. That is true it is much different in color, and distant subjects more “natural” to shoot I believe, at least for those that have eyes for color.

  3. Since everything here is in English I assume I have to write in English.

    Please always correct me if I do some mistakes.
    I read your article few days ago but I was still on holydays and could not answer properly. It was not a bad thing though because I thought about what you said in your comment and here.

    I realized that I was nearly always very close to my subject (no wonder I like macrophotography so much) and that I was quite uneasy when my subject was far.

    It’s not that I am a believer of close-shots, but I found it more difficult to compose my picture I think. That’s why I completely agree with you, I think it is a very challenging exercise and I think I’ll try more often.

    Your photos are a very good example of what one can do at a long distance. I found them very inspiring.

    Color or black and white, for me it remains a difficult exercise. Maybe it’s because I’m naturally ill-at-ease with long distance. I’m short-sighted ^^ That could partly explain that.

    Thanks for the interesting article. There are so many things to reflect on in photography. I’ll not get bored 😉

    I hope I did not make some aweful mistakes. I tend to forget about grammar and spelling past ten p.m.

    • In english si tu veux…. I do in english because I live in the US and have lots of non-french photo friends. Mais c’est comme tu veux. (d’ailleurs pas sur que mon anglais esoit meilleur que le tien…)

      Indeed it is difficult to have the subject far, it is very demanding for the compostion. Also one interesting thing (at least to me) is that it allows to include more of the context, and to create juxtaposition between remote elements (just like in the first pic with ashtray on foreground and smoker in the bkg). And to me this is an important thing for street and documentary photography.

  4. I’ll have no time to get bored*

    Not a big difference, but still.

    I said to Anne-Laure in a recent comment that her blog lack the option preview in order to check mistakes and omissions. I will repeat it to you. But maybe I’m the only one who needs it because I always comment so late ^^

    • Merci Lluciole,

      C’est vrai que c’est très pratique cette fonctionalité (comment preview). Mais malheureusement ici je n’ai pas la possibilité de l’activer; j’imagine que ce n’est pas dispo. sur la plateforme wordpress, de quoi sans doute faire tiquer la geek que tu es… 🙂

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