Sunday, November 16, 2014

The Wider View


Admittedly I am a photographer who loves the close-up shot. Little details call to me. I could probably shoot exclusively with my 60mm macro lens and be completely happy.

But...and there always is a but, this fall I am learning the importance of the wider view. In landscape shots you want a wider view, but I am not a landscape girl...or am I? On our vacation up north earlier this fall I fell even more in love with the rural landscape and especially old wooden barns. It was a great vacation in so many ways but one of the best things that happened is that I finally found an artistic style.


It all started with this photo. Let me say this artistic style applies mainly to my iPhone photography. When I use my Canon dslr I still prefer macro shots.

That is until I started Ali Edward's new class Lens of Joy. Ali is a big proponent of the wider view, including more in the photo to help tell the story. And yes the wider view does tell more of the story.


I think I got away from the wider view when our daughter was little. I got so tired of all the clutter in the photos. Clutter on counters, clutter on the floor. I just wanted cute close cropped in photos of my precious daughter's face. But after recently looking through some photographs from my own childhood, I appreciate those extra things in the photos, they add to the story. There was the Christmas wrapping paper from 1969. There was the red and white metal child size table set that I wish I still had. There was my favorite teddy bear lying discarded at the edge of the frame in favor of shiny new presents.


Christmas with my presents around me says more than a posed shot of me in front of the Christmas tree. That clutter from my childhood evokes memories, good memories. Things that I reminisce about now when I see them at an antique store.


Mallory will probably look back at photos of her and have those same feelings; favorite but forgotten toys, things that evoke happy childhood memories.


It seems I have two sides to my photography. There are the artistic creations that I make with my iPhone and all those lovely apps. Then there are the photos that I take to support the stories I write. I am realizing that those story telling photos need to have a wider view of the world.


I also have a strong desire to work on self-portraiture and those definitely need the wider view. They need to show context, to show place and to have space. I don't want close-ups of my face, so space is vital.


One place I am good at getting the wider view is the beach. Maybe that is because I have such a connection to the water and the shoreline. And so many design elements present themselves here: Line, Shape and Form, Texture, Simplicity, Perspective. All things a photographer looks for.

I took time Tuesday morning, before the rainstorm, to go to the beach. Our homework for Lens of Joy this week was to pick 3-5 design principles and practice them.


Along with practicing those design principles my goal was to focus on the wider view, and see how capturing the wider view influenced the story of place.

I enjoyed the photographic process so much that morning that I can see me doing a year long study/project on photographing at the beach. Maybe that will be my goal for 2015. A whole year of weekly shooting beside the water.

I live a mile from Lake Michigan so that shouldn't be a problem. The problem will be winter. But maybe this project will be the motivation I need to get out and shoot every week in spite of the weather.


The question is, where to document this project. Maybe this is finally the right project for a Squarespace blog. It would be great to see my progress in both photography and writing on a specific topic all in one place. Hmmm...I really like this idea.

This is certainly not where I expected this story to go when I started writing it, but this is what writing does, it helps me come up with new creative ideas. Things that will require action and now that it is written down I am much more likely to take action and create this project. So stay tuned for the unveiling of my new project in January.

20 comments:

  1. Inspiring! So happy you are finding your own artistic style. The photos of the barn and the beach are amazing. I am so looking forward to seeing your story unfold next year, however you decide to share it!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Really really enjoyed this reflective post with so many amazing wider view shots. Your iphoneography projects are just amazing Sarah. This sounds like a great class to take. Think I will check it out for the future

    ReplyDelete
  3. Sarah,,,,,, I honestly didn't know that you could make such amazing pics with an iPhone!! I have a Samsung and have not experimented with pics but maybe now I will!! I love your beach pics too..... there is something about water that is so calming,,,,,thanks for sharing your "photographer's" experience ... love your blogs!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I did not realize you were so close to the beach. That is wonderful. I grew up at the Jersey Shore. We had a summer house. Sometimes the beach does call to me. I agree you have figured out your signature style. Is the top image your favorite image?

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi Sarah, I think you have found your style. Looking forward to watching you all next year.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I love thoughtful posts like this, exploring how our photography changes and grows -- and why. I do believe that what we shoot and how we shoot is reflects what is going on deeper inside -- and exploring this is endlessly fascinating. Look forward to your future explorations.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Enjoyed the journey through your thought process - inspired some new thoughts of my own. Thank you for that.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I do wish I weren't so landlocked! But it is what it is. I think it's a good thing to have more than one style, or direction, or focus ... yes, that's the right word ... in photography as an art form. Lovely photos, old and new, today. I look forward to you beach study!

    ReplyDelete
  9. It is fascinating to see the different styles of photography through the ages. The family Christmas shots with their naturalness rather than today's 'selfies'. I took a look at some of my very old photos from when I was a teenager and started getting into photography (before the days of digital, where you had to be careful how many shots you took before your film ran out) and I was surprised because even back then I was taking macros and parts of buildings. Some things never change! Your photos are simply stunning!

    ReplyDelete
  10. I'm a little envious of the "mile to the beach" statement! I would love to see a collection of beach images throughout the year! Wider views are harder for me, as I also like the macro world, but, oh, they can be so beautiful!

    ReplyDelete
  11. that pumpkin! And how nice you live so close to the water. I think you and I have something in common and thats the little things that speak to us in photography. I do need to expand my horizon, so to speak, and back out a bit for the whole picture which can say just as much as a close up. Beautiful post Sarah.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Freeing it is to discover self . . . artistic you are in word, photo, picture, style . . .
    I love following you . .,.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Your barns are gorgeous! Those iphone apps are a lot of fun. The last bench photo uses the rule-of-thirds perfectly, love the symmetry. Can't wait to hear about your new project.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Sounds like a great plan to me! You've been rocking the rural shots on ig girlfriend!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Looking forward to see your plan take shape. Your iPhone photos are wonderful and I too am looking at the wide angle shots, I do tend to zoom in

    ReplyDelete
  16. Sarah, in the year and a half or so since I "met" you online, it's been such a joy to watch you discover your photographic and writing style. I've seen you grow so much in both areas, and this post is a perfect example. The photos both old and new are special and meaningful, and I loved following your thought processes. I'm looking forward to your beach project, and thinking of doing one myself now. You're an inspiration!

    ReplyDelete
  17. I've got to admit, I love the landscapes! In fact - I'd love to jump into some of your shots above! Wow!

    ReplyDelete
  18. We have something in common - an ability to embrace the journey. You are casting a wide net and seeing what your catch will reveal - a good strategy for any artist. Your process is unfolding, your passion evolving, and your stories emerging. There should be struggles, but there will also be life-affirming days along the shore where every single picture is a huge success. You had such a day! I'm trying to shoot wide, too. So glad you're enjoying your latest class.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I sure enjoyed reading your thought process in this regard. I have been enjoying your barns and landscapes on Instagram. Much food for thought...

    Thank you for sharing!
    xoxo

    ReplyDelete

Thank you so much for visiting today and taking the time to read my thoughts on life. :)