Mastery in a Box (or at least some good ideas and how I applied them)
The tips pages had much great information on how to make great photos that pop. I’d heard of the concept behind the rule of thirds before but had never actually heard the name. I usually try to take photos that way, but it’s nice to know that I have been using a successful method all-along. What was really interesting was seeing the many examples of pictures that are appealing and to see that the rule of thirds was so prevalent in them. The rule of thirds add-on for Google Chrome was also useful for looking at images on the web to analyze their third-iness.
Using different perspectives opened new doors to me; I ended up using that for a few photos in the photoblitz, in particular the pictures about the interesting angle, the metaphor for complexity, and the converging lines.
I was relieved to hear Nigel Harstaad say that equipment wasn’t a requirement for good photography after the one tip about using the right lens for the job; I don’t have money to spend on a camera at the moment. I was pretty impressed with the photos I took for the photoblitz on my iPhone though. I guess it’s what you call “an oldie but a goodie.”
Also, from the 10 Unconventional Tips I certainly used the first: take photos of ugly things. The converging lines photo is actually a photo of the riser lid for the septic tank in my back yard. While the whole concept of indoor plumbing is quite beautiful, I personally find the waste elements of its implementation a tad off-putting.
Of course since I’m using an iPhone I paid special attention to the BuzzFeed tips. My selfie for the things that don’t belong together benefitted from the use of the main camera, as per their recommendation. Unfortunately the picture turned out a little out of focus, but I didn’t realize that until after the blitz.
Artistry in the Wastelands
In examining The Cruikshank Poor House, we clearly see some of the techniques proposed in the tips and tricks guide from Canvas. Most prevalent, I feel, is the use and at times clear violations of the rule of thirds. Consider the following image.
We can see clearly here that the rule of thirds is upheld, keeping all the focal points (the old stove and the window) outside of the center box of the photo.
However in this next photo, the photographer chose to center the camera exactly on a window, such that the window is in the center of the photo and the walls, ceiling, and floor frame the window in the respective boxes to the sides, top, and bottom.
This framing effect draws on the light from the window, casting the outside as bright and welcoming and the decrepit inside as dark and unpleasant. Of course the falling ceiling and bits of plaster and presumably lead paint littering the floor enhance the ominous feeling of the inside of the room, but the shadow around the window really makes the picture.
The eerie vibe this hallway shot puts off is delightfully creepy, with light occasionally entering through the many windows, then going completely dark, save for at the very end of the hall. This effect is both mysterious and foreboding.
All of the work can certainly be described as being ugly, with encroaching vegetation, crumbling structure and pianos likely too far gone. This is work that doesn’t bring warm cuddles to mind. Really, that is what makes this gallery speak to the post-apocalyptic idea, that something as grand in size and furnishing has been reduced to a shadowed haunt of a building. By using the aforementioned techniques, the photographer has captured what an abandoned, post-apocalyptic America sorely aspires to be.