Thursday, March 8, 2012

This Isn't New ~ Exploration Thursday!

"Universal Design"

Okay, you got me. Some part of this post is new. The image you're viewing today is brand new. Taken over at the U of T campus in fact. But I'm about to reiterate a couple points I've harped on before. I can't help it. It's not my fault. And it started with a comment made a few days ago.

I had just shown an acquaintance of mine the unfinished version of this image the other day. I love shape, I love design, I love details in architecture. You know this already if you've followed this blog for any amount of time. I'm addicted to these things. So I was excited to show the gem I found while wandering the Faculty of Music building at U of T last Sunday. What you're looking at is a dome in the ceiling of the Faculty of Music. It lets in some light and has this fabulous reflective pattern in it's glass. And their comment was, "well, I've cut through that building often enough... but how come I never noticed those domes in this way?!?"

If you've heard what I'm about to say before, feel free to gaze at the marvel of architecture that is the left dome in the faculty building, and then be on your merry way. But if you haven't heard this before, then today is your day and you might want to stay put for a second.

No matter where you go, if you love photography, you need to really look at your surroundings. Period. I mean really really really look. The comment above implied that this person noticed the domes in the ceiling before but didn't notice the design within, or the patterns it made, or the shapes it had. Trust me, I don't wander around looking for cool windows, buildings, or "stuff". But I do look for great details, or shadows, or light, or lines. That's why the dome of windows stood out to me. 

Train yourself. Look back through your favorite images and one by one decide what element makes it stand out. Make a point of giving yourself projects where you're only allowed to photograph repeating lines, or shapes. Make texture the theme. Find a way to start seeing "outside the box". Limit yourself to a certain lens to hone how to see details in that particular frame. Start viewing other photographer's sites that don't even shoot what you shoot. You'll start to recognize the elements that matter and not the subject matter itself. I'm still being asked how to spot interesting subject matter... that tells me we're still not really seeing what's available. And that we've locked onto a certain definition of what is visually pleasing, with no room to grow.

I'll have another example of this topic next week as well. A friend of mine whose photography I admire, and myself, decided to challenge ourselves to shooting one type of photo over the course of a week... we chose the theme of rust/decay to see what we could come up with that would stand on it's own as a great photograph. It demands that we start really looking for possibilities. It sharpens perception. It makes photography exciting. You should try it. I'll post my results next week... you can tell me what you think... and what you see.

Have a great day gang! Thanks for the ramble!

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