Putting the subject of this exercise in different areas of the frame will show how the photograph’s context changes depending on the subject’s position within the image. It is a series of four photos of a bench on the beach. I have taken these photos from exactly the same place, merely turning my body in order to gain the different viewpoint.
Here are the results in my order of preference;
This is my favourite image of the four. It invokes, for me, thoughts of sitting at the picnic bench watching the sea and boats. Two-thirds of the scene is taken up with the sea and tankers in the background. This makes the eye-level of the viewer rise naturally from the bench to the expanse of water above it and the tankers on the horizon. The bench top is also level with the water’s edge, which I think helps the illusion that we are walking towards the table to sit at it. I get quite a welcoming feeling from this photo.
This is the shot which I expected to like least but, as it turns out, I was wrong. The fact that I very rarely take photos with the subject smack in the centre probably contributes to something of the quirkiness that I attribute to me liking it. Maybe a bit smaller in the frame and I would have liked it more.
This is my ‘natural’ shot with the table in the right and upper third of the shot. It is my third favourite in the series. It is quite mundane and offers the viewer little. The amount of bare sand in the shot may be contributing this dullness. Unlike Image 3, which gives me some warmth and hope of enjoying sitting there, I feel very detached from this table.
This shot just makes me feel uncomfortable. I hate my subject being that close to the edge of frame. Having said that, I actually don’t find it that much more offensive than the previous photo (Image 1) which was my ‘naturally’ composed shot. It doesn’t invite me in and if anything looks like it’s trying to run away from me!
I probably need to delve a little more in to why the final image makes me feel uncomfortable. I suspect my two-thirds rule has been violated and my (somewhat scientific over artistic) brain doesn’t like it much. I’ll have to try doing this more in order to break the spell and come up with something new and who knows, maybe more interesting.
All photographs taken on location at East Coast Park in Singapore.