At the playground

At the playground
Olympus XA, Fujifilm Fujicolor 200
2012

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Photography
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9 thoughts on “

  1. Hey Jim, excellent shot and wow, those colors are exactly what I’m looking for! I’ve forgotten how nice and “vintage” good old ISO 200 film can be since they stopped processing color film at my local store. Hmm, it might be worth my while to go back to the Fuji and Kodak Gold 200 films. Great shot!

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  2. Nice results from the XA. I like the colors and the composition. The picture is complimented by your new site design, though it is a bit too large for my screen.

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    • It’s easy to get good results from the XA: compose and focus and bam, there you are. And the picture is slightly too large for my monitor too, and I have a pretty big monitor. I don’t mind scrolling a little to take a whole image in, but I wonder how others feel about it.

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  3. Dan Cluley says:

    In this particular case, I think scrolling enhances this photo, as it mimics the natural eye movement of following the curve of the pipe.

    With a portrait, or a landscape scene I think less scrolling is better. Fortunately a photo of a scene is more likely to be horizontal, and so fit the monitor better.

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  4. I guess there is no way around subjectivity in making and assessing photo art. People have the choice of emphasizing certain content and form in expression and viewers are always going to interpret the results in terms of their own perceptions and experiences. That said, I think it is possible to be somewhat objective in systematically analyzing the elements that are contained in any photo composition.

    I think it is correct that one generally builds an image in the mind of reality that is somewhat different from a scene that is recorded instantaneously. Our brains stitch together details that may not be simultaneously present in the field of view. So, with that in mind, I don’t find any problem accepting the idea that scrolling a picture on the screen can provide a pleasing experience as different parts of the image come into view. The thing I have to ask, however, if that perception is the primary one the artist was trying to communicate.

    In still photography I am looking primarily for an over-all static representation with simultaneously present elements which work together including lines, forms, tonalities, planes, perspectives and colors — all of which may suggest ideas of representing reality or abstraction, sometimes both at the same time.

    I find Jim’s playground photo to be most satisfying to me personally as an abstraction. I like the limited color palette, the subtle flowing curves, and the sharply delineated color blocks bounded by sharp borders. The perspective of the shot is primarily and pleasingly two dimensional, though the selective focus of the lens does allow a perception of an additional aspect of depth.

    A graphic feature of the composition which I think is subtle but important is that it obeys the rule of thirds — that is, an important compositional element is located at the intersection of two lines which divide the picture space into thirds. In this case the main element is the apex of the orange triangular shape in the upper right of the picture. There are some additional points of interest in the lower portion of the picture which are close enough to the “thirds” locations to add graphic strength.

    Sometimes the rule of thirds is the dominant feature of a composition; the lines and forms converge in a way that draws the eye inexorably to the intersection. In Jim’s photo, I think the thirds rule plays more of a supporting role in bringing a sense of order to the composition.

    The inclusion of the label in the lower right of the picture creates some tension because it is at the point of sharpest focus and reveals some finely depicted texture and detail which contrasts with the flowing lines and color blocks that support a more abstract perception of the scene.

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    • You’ve brought up several times on your blog the vagaries of sharing photo art online, as the artist has little or no control over how it is displayed.

      I had never considered it before you pointed it out. Despite having grown up in museums, I had never much thought about how physical a photograph used to always be. The artist could control so much, not just the paper and printing process, but even matting and framing, and choice of glass if the photo were behind any.

      On the Web, in contrast, anything goes. Each of the photos I share on the Tuesday/Thursday photo series is 1024 pixels on its longest edge, but that doesn’t mean much when your monitor isn’t big enough to take it in without scrolling and when I look at it on my phone it is automatically shrunk to fit the screen. Additionally, as you’ve pointed out, one monitor doesn’t represent color like another. Your color calibration is probably different from mine. I adjust my photos in Photoshop so they please me, but that’s based in some part on my monitor at home, which is calibrated as it is. Sometimes I’m a little surprised by what I see on, for example, the screen of my second computer, a laptop.

      Thank you for noticing my use of the rule of thirds, and thank you especially for noticing the tension that label creates in the photo. If I had my way at the time I took the photo, that label wouldn’t have been there. But when you’re out photographing the world as it is, you don’t get to stage things much. Fortunately, that tension creates interest, and now I think the photo would not be as good without the label.

      I remember a lot about making this photograph. (That’s not always the case.) I thought there was something compositionally interesting here and I framed several times until I found it. Do you know what I mean when I say I caught the scent of an interesting photo within this scene, and just kept sniffing around until I identified what it was? I wasn’t looking at color beyond some recognition that the scene was, indeed, colorful, and I wasn’t entirely sure what DOF I was going to get at whatever aperture/shutter speed combo I was using. And even though I’ve shot a lot of Fujicolor 200 over the years and am generally familiar with how it renders color, I couldn’t be entirely sure of the colors I would get back. So, beyond sight and composition, a lot of this photograph is just happy circumstance.

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