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.