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  • 1. REVISED EDITIONTHE PHOTOGRAPHIC EYE Learning to See with a Camera Michael F. OBrien & Norman Sibley
  • 2. THE PHOTOGRAPHIC EYELearning to See with a Camera Michael E OBrien & Norman Sibley Davis Publications, Inc., Worcester, Massachusetts
  • 3. Copyright 1995 Davis Publications, Inc. Worcester, Massachusetts U.S.A. To the photography students of Seoul American High School, past, present and future. No part of this work may be repro- duced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechan- ical, including photocopying and re- cording, or by any information storage or retrieval system without the prior written permission of the copyright owner, unless such copy- ing is expressly permitted by federal copyright law. Davis is not autho- rized to grant permission for further uses of copyrighted selections or im- ages reprinted in this text without the permission of their owners. Permis- sion must be obtained from the indi- vidual copyright owners as identified herein. Address requests for permis- sion to make copies of Davis mate- rial to Permissions, Davis Publi- cations, Inc., 50 Portland Street, Worcester, MA 01608. Editor: Claire Mowbray Golding Design: Greta D. Sibley Printed in the United States of America Library of Congress Catalog CardStudent photograph by Gregory Conrad. Number: 93-74644 ISBN: 0-87192-283-5 1098 7 6 5 Cover: Student photograph by Leah Gendler.4 The Photographic Eye
  • 4. Contents 7 IntroductionPart 1 Getting Started 11 Chapter 1 From Blurs to Big Business History • Photographic CareersPart 2 Elements of Composition 35 Chapter 2 Tools Manual or Automatic? • The Camera, Inside & Out • Exercises: Testing the Shutter & Aperture • Loading Film 51 Chapter 3 What is Composition? Snapshots vs. Photographs • Structure, Balance, Dynamics • Exercises: Mat Frame • Cropping 67 Chapter 4 Developing A Critical Eye Critique Session • Evaluating a Print • Exercise: Sample Crit 83 Chapter 5 Point of Departure (f!6 at 1/125) Starting Simply • Doing it Right 87 Chapter 6 Line Pattern, Structure, Direction • Exercise: Pattern 95 Chapter 7 Texture Expressing the "Feel" • Exercise: Leaves103 Chapter 8 Shape Mass, Proportion & Relation • Using Negative Space * Exercise: Circles & Ovals113 Chapter 9 Light Controlling Exposure • Information & Mood • Using a Light Meter • Other Functions of Light • Depth of Field * Exercise: Bracketing129 Chapter 10 Motion The Science of Blurs • Stop and Co • Exercise: Blurred Movement137 Chapter 11 Perspective Lenses • Different Ways of Seeing • A Point of View • Exercise: A Point of View
  • 5. Part 3 People, Places & Things: Exercises & Examples151 Chapter 12 Things Exercises: Bicycle • Hubcaps & Taillights • Eggs • Object & Its Shadow • Bottles & Classes • Water • Old Things167 Chapter 13 Places Exercises: Landscape • Architecture & Environment • Neighborhoods • Zoo/Farm • Store Windows * Construction Sites181 Chapter 14 People Exercises: Hands • Elders • Children • Soft-Light Portrait • Side-Lit Portrait • Prop Portrait • Detail Portrait • Mood Portrait197 Chapter 15 Putting It All Together Exercises: Fairs • Open Markets • Rain • Playgrounds • Sports Events209 Chapter 16 Breaking the Rules Exercises: Night • Monotone • Silhouettes • Grain and Diffusion • Double Exposure • Photo-Copy Photos • Panel Panorama • Text and ImageAppendixes227 Appendix 1 Processing Processing Film • Printing • Manipulation243 Appendix 2 Color From B&W to Color • Technical Considerations253 Appendix 3 Manipulation & Presentation Presentation * Manipulation265 Appendix 4 Advanced Techniques Tools272 Mat Frame (template)273 Cropping Ls (template)275 Bibliography279 Glossary281 Index287 Acknowledgments6 The Photographic Eye
  • 6. Introduction hotography is both an art dimensional scene. The process by control each of these factors to P and a science. As an art, it expresses a personal vision. As a science, it relies on technology. which this is done may seem like magic. (In fact, when cameras were first introduced, many people all over achieve the effect you want. But it will take time. As you may already know, its often hard to keep all of This double nature is not unique to the world thought that they were them in mind every time you take a photography. Every kind of creative magic.) Fundamentally, however, picture. expression —such as music, dance or theres no magic in the camera. Its Fortunately, it is possible to begin painting —has both a purely artistic just a box with a hole in it. You more simply. This book is designed side and a more scientific or tech- supply the magic. When you, the to help you do that. It begins with a ological side as well. For example, photographer, use a camera creative- brief summary of photographys paints are a kind of technology, and ly, it changes from a simple, past, present and future, including a using them well involves a consid- mechanical machine into an artists discussion of photography careers. rable amount of technical skill. The tool. Instead of making random This is followed by an introduction main difference between photogaphy copies of things, it begins to say to the camera itself. Chapters 3 and and more traditional visual arts, such something about them. 4 provide a set of guidelines for com-as painting, is the complexity of its Here are some of the technical posing and evaluating photographs. technology. questions a photographer must Chapter 5 explains a simple way to In any of the arts, the first step answer for every photograph: How start producing correctly exposed toward excellence is mastering tech- will the lighting affect the clarity and photographs. As soon as you get that ique — learning to use a specific tech- mood of the photograph? How fast basic background behind you, you ology skillfully and effectively. In should the shutter speed be? How will begin your first photograph photography, this means that you large a lens opening should be used? assignments. Chapters 6 through 11 must learn to control the camera and What should be in focus? What deal with specific "elements" ofdarkroom equipment, rather than let- belongs in the frame, and what photography. At the end of theseting them control you. doesnt? What lens should be used? chapters are exercises that will help No artist, however creative, can All these factors influence each you learn to recognize and use eachproduce a masterpiece without a other, and they all affect the final element discussed.sound basis in technique. On the photograph. A photograph is "suc- The remainder of the book is com-other hand, no amount of technical cessful"—in the technical sense — posed of additional exercises (withskill can make up for a lack of artistic when these factors all work well examples) and an Appendix, cover-vision. Both are essential. The goal together and are combined with cor- ing most of the technical informationof any artist is to use good technique rect darkroom procedures. When a (including a section on color photog-creatively. creative composition is added, the raphy). Finally, theres a glossary to Simply speaking, a camera is a photograph becomes aesthetically clarify any confusing terminologymachine that produces a two- successfully as well. and a bibliography to help you locatedimensional (flat) copy of a three- Eventually, you will learn how to more detailed information. 7
  • 7. part 1 Getting StartedStudent photograph by Edward Maresh. 9
  • 8. Dorothea Lange, Migrant Mother, Nipomo, California, 1936. Gelatin silver print. Library of Congress,Washington, D.C.
  • 9. chapter 1 From Blurs to Big Business urprisingly few new art made between 1816 and 1840. The rhe cent stone (one that would glow in theIS forms have been invented in the course of recorded his- tory. Depending on how such terms first recorded discovery that certain chemicals turned black when exposed to light was made in 1725. The basic ain dark). He mixed powdered chalk into a nitric acid solution and was sur- prised to discover that the mixture as "art" and "new" are defined, the design of the cameras we use today turned purple in sunlight. After in- novel as a form of literature may has been in use since the 1500s. The vestigating, he discovered that his ex- qualify, as may rock n roll and Chinese figured it out even longer ago periment had been contaminated with other kinds of electric and electronic than that — as early as the fourth cen- silver salt (silver chloride) and that music. More recent candidates in- tury. So, photography is between this was causing the reaction to light. clude computer graphics and the 1,500 and 150 years old. Schulze was curious enough about current wave of digital creations this phenomenon to experiment with known as multi-media. Prelude it. He covered bottles of his mixture One form that certainly qualifies The first stage of photographys with stencils so the light would is photography. From its beginnings evolution in Europe was the camera "print" letters onto it, but the letters as a technological curiosity, it has obscura, which is Latin for "dark would disintegrate as soon as the mix- grown into one of the most impor- chamber" (camera = chamber or ture was disturbed. Evidently, he tant influences in our society and room; obscura = dark). The camera never thought that his discovery culture. Every day, we encounter obscura was a room, or a small build- might have any practical application. hundreds of images produced with ing, with no windows. One tiny hole, cameras and film. We learn about fitted with a lens, projected images Early Prints the latest fashion trends from photo- from outside the room onto the far In 1777, a Swedish chemist, Carl graphs — and about the latest war or wall inside it. Wilhelm Scheele, repeated Schulzes famine. We also learn about the re- The image was upside down and experiments. He also discovered that markable planet on which we live not generally very clear, but it was ammonia would dissolve the silver and about the people with whom we good enough to become a useful tool chloride and leave the image intact. share it. for artists. The projected image could With this second discovery, the basic be traced, providing an accurate chemistry of photography (exposing HISTORY sketch, which might then be devel- silver chloride to produce an image oped into a painting. Portable ver- and "fixing" it with ammonia) wasThere is no single correct answer to sions of the camera obscura were established, but —again —what itthe question of how and when pho- developed by the 1660s. The camera might lead to was not recognized.tography began. No one person can existed, but photography hadnt even Forty years later, the plot began tobe credited with inventing it. In- been imagined yet. thicken. A number of people beganstead, it emerged through centuries In 1725, a German professor of trying to produce a photographicof tinkering. anatomy, Johann Heinrich Schulze, image on paper. In France, Joseph The first printed photographs were attempted to produce a phosphores- Nicephore Niepce developed an 11
  • 10. Joseph Nicephore Niepce, worlds first permanent camera image. Courtesy Gernsheim Collection, Harry RansomHumanities Research Center, The University of Texas at Austin.emulsion (a light-sensitive varnish) named Louis Jacques Mande Da- vapor, and finally "fixed" with a saltout of bitumen of Judea, a kind of guerre was also trying to produce a solution, then a visible, permanentasphalt. Instead of turning black, this camera image. He got in touch with image would result. This discoverymaterial is hardened by light. So, to Niepce and the two worked together formed the basis for the first photo-produce an image, Niepce coated a on the problem. Niepce died, poor graphic process to be used outside ofglass or pewter plate with his emul- and discouraged, a few years later, a laboratory: the daguerreotype.sion, exposed it to light and then but Daguerre continued (with In England, William Henry Foxwashed the plate with solvents. The Niepces son Isadore as his new Talbot was also experimenting withsolvents dissolved the unexposed (and partner). camera images. By 1835 he too hadstill soft) emulsion, producing a Daguerre was convinced that silver succeeded in producing a number ofprint: the worlds first permanent was the key to producing a better im- photographs. With his process, thecamera image. It was only some blurs age than Niepces asphalt prints. In first exposure produced a negativeof light and dark, and the exposure 1835, his conviction paid off. He image on paper treated with silverreportedly took eight hours, but it discovered that if a silver plate were compounds. The exposed paper waswas a real image. iodized (treated with iodine), exposed then placed over a second sheet of Meanwhile, a painter in Paris first to light and then to mercury treated paper and exposed to a bright12 The Photographic Eye
  • 11. light, producing a positive image onthe second sheet. Thus, Talbots process —called acalotype or talbotype —enabledphotographers to make multiplecopies of a single image. This was notpossible with a daguerreotype, whichproduced a positive image directly ona metal plate. Because the calotypes image was transferred through a paper negative, however, it was not as clear as the daguerreotype. In 1851, another Englishman, Frederick Scott Archer, introduced the collodian wet-plate process, which offered the best of both worlds: a high-quality image and multiple copies. Talbot tried to claim credit and licensing rights for this new process as well. In 1854, the courts overruled him and followed Archers wishes by making the process freely available to everyone. The collodian process, like the daguerreotype, was difficult to use. First, a clean glass plate had to be evenly coated with collodian (a sub- stance similar to plastic and contain- ing potassium iodide). While still damp, the plate had to be dipped into a silver nitrate solution, inserted into the camera and exposed. It was then developed immediately, and finally thousands. The stereoscopic camera Julia Margaret Cameron, Alfred allowed to dry. If the plate dried (which produced a three-dimensional Tennyson with his sons Hallam before the process was complete, the effect by combining two images) was and Lionel, 1865-69. Albumen emulsion would harden and the pho- introduced in 1849. By the 1860s, no print, W/2 x 8>/4" (27 x 22 cm). tograph would be ruined. It wasnt parlor in America was considered Gift of David Bakalar, 1977. easy, but it worked. complete without a stereo viewer and Courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, a stack of slides to entertain guests. Boston.Photography Goes Public Photography had more seriousPhotography, dominated by the col- uses as well. As early as the 1850s,lodian and daguerreotype processes, books of photographs were publishedbegan to take off. Cameras were set showing the harsh conditions of lifeup in studios and loaded onto carts in the streets, factories, mines andto photograph portraits, landscapes slums of England and the Unitedand battles. Tourists collected inex- States. Lewis Mine, a sociologist,pensive prints of local attractions, produced powerful photographs ofcalled cartes-de-visite, by the children who worked long hours in From Blurs to Big Business 13
  • 12. Lewis Mine, Doffer Girl in New textile mills and other industries. His that he did so to settle a bet as toEngland Mill, c 1910. work helped to bring about new laws whether or not running horses lifted to protect childrens rights. all four hooves off the ground at one At the start of the Civil War, a suc- time. By photographing a horse with cessful portrait photographer named his device, he proved that they do. He Mathew Brady asked President Lin- also contributed tremendously to our coln for permission to carry his understanding of how animals (and cameras onto the battlefields. Per- humans) move. mission was granted, and Brady and These and other similar uses of his staff compiled a remarkable photography often achieved a high record of that tragic period of degree of aesthetic quality —a high American history. Like many of pho- degree of art. Their primary pur- tographys pioneers, he paid for the poses, however, were practical: to project almost entirely by himself and promote social reform, record his- died penniless as a result. torical events and aid scientific In the 1880s, Eadweard Muybridge investigations. invented a device called a zooprax- iscope which produced a series of im- ages of a moving subject. It is said14 The Photographic Eye
  • 13. Mathew Brady, Magazine inBattery Rodgers, 1863. Library ofCongress, Washington, D.C. From Blurs to Big Business 15
  • 14. Eadweard Muybridge, Attitudes of Animals in Motion, c 1881.But Is It Art? what a painting should look like was with their cameras, specializing inAt the same time, another group of heavily influenced by the Romanticist peaceful scenes of country life. Theyphotographers were dealing with the painters (such as Delacroix). The Pic- were also increasingly fond of usingpurely aesthetic issue of how photog- torialist photographers, like the soft focus (blurred edges) in theirraphy relates to the traditional arts, Romanticist painters, believed that an photographs.particularly painting. Is photography artist should improve upon nature by Despite the differences betweenan art at all? If so, how should it be using it to express noble ideas. Both them, both the Pictorialists and theused? What should "art photog- favored elaborate illustrations of Naturalists believed that a work ofraphy" look like? These same ques- scenes from ancient mythology. art ought to express a "correct senti-tions continue to provoke discussion The other faction called themselves ment" and that it ought to be decora-and argument even today. Photog- Naturalists. They were led by Peter t i v e — p r e t t y . This is what most setraphy is still defining itself. Henry Emerson and George Davison. them apart from the "practical" pho- By the 1850s, two opposing fac- The Naturalists believed that a tographers, like Brady and Muy-tions of artist-photographers had photograph should capture natures bridge, whose work showed the hardbeen established. The Pictorialists, own truth. They preferred the Bar- edges of reality, with all its flaws.led by Oscar Rejlander and Henry bizon painters, who took their easelsPeach Robinson, believed that a out to the forests, fields and streams,photograph should look as much like and painted them directly. The Nat-a painting as possible. Their idea of uralist photographers did the same16 The Photographic Eye
  • 15. Peter Henry Emerson, Gunner Working Up to Fowl, c 1886. New Tools & Processes another 100 photos. Eastmans Autochrome produced transparencies In the late 1880s, flexible film ap- slogan was "You press the button; we (slides) that could not be enlargedpeared for the first time, replacing do the rest." (The name "Kodak," in- very much without showing the grainclumsy and heavy glass plates. By the cidentally, doesnt mean anything. of the starch dyes used to create the 1890s, George Eastman had intro- Eastman selected it because he felt it image. It also took fifty times as longduced the Kodak camera, the first w o u l d be easy for people to to expose as black-and-white film.that was reasonably easy to use. The remember.) Then, in 1935, Kodak introducedcamera itself was simple: a box with In 1925, Leica introduced its "mini- Kodachrome, an improved slide film,a lens, a cord to cock the shutter, a ature" camera, the first to use 35mm followed in 1941 by Kodacolor, forbutton to release it and a crank to film. Though not quite as simple to making color prints. The familywind the film. What made this use as the earlier Kodak model, it was photograph album, which had existedcamera special was that it came technically more sophisticated and for only 100 years, was now bothloaded with enough film for 100 quite a bit smaller As a result, widespread and increasingly in fullphotographs. When the film was amateur photography became an in- color.used up, the entire camera was ternational passion.returned to the Eastman Kodak Other technical advances con-Company. The film was then devel- tinued to appear all t h e time. Theoped and printed, and the camera first commercial color film, Auto-was reloaded and returned, ready for chrome, hit the market in 1907. From Blurs to Big Business 17
  • 16. FOCAL POINT: Alfred Stieglitz, 1864-1946Alfred Stieglitz was in many ways thefirst "modern" photographer.Though his early photographs werecarefully manipulated to imitatepaintings, he soon recognized thatphotography was an art in its ownright —and deserved to be treated asone. He saw the need to free photog-raphy from the conventions and lim-itations of painting. Consequently,Stieglitz promoted what came to beknown as "straight" photography —making prints with little or no crop-ping, retouching or other alteration. He was a founding member andleader of the "Photo Secession," agroup of photographers who weredetermined to break away from pho-tographys past and to chart itsfuture. Stieglitz was editor andpublisher of the groups magazine,Camera Work, the first publicationto deal seriously with photography asan independent art form. He work-ed with Edward Steichen to establish"Gallery 291" in New York City,which exhibited contemporary pho-tographs along with paintings byPicasso, Matisse and GeorgiaOKeefe (whom Stieglitz latermarried). Alfred Stieglitz, The Rag Picker, New York, 1895. When photography was first in-vented, it was a scientific novelty. record. He returned to the straight- we use it today —as a familiar tool forSoon, it evolved into an excellent forward approach of the early exploring reality.record-keeping tool. Photographers photographers, but he did so with the The attitudes and interests thatcould be hired to make a lasting insight and confidence of a true Stieglitz brought to photography canrecord of a person, place or event. By artist. be traced to his upbringing. He wasthe late 1800s, photographers were Stieglitz was among the first born in Hoboken, New Jersey, thestriving to elevate their craft into a photographers to produce work that, son of German immigrants. He orig-recognized art. They did this by im- even today, does not look "dated." inally intended to become a mechan-itating the content and visual effects Though clothing and architectural ical engineer. While in Berlin study-of paintings. Stieglitzgreat achieve- styles have changed considerably ing for this purpose, he happened toment was to bring photography full since his time, his best work still looks see a camera in a store window. Hecircle: he merged its artistic potential thoroughly modern. The main reason bought it and soon decided it waswith its ability to produce a factual for this is that he used the camera as more interesting than engineering.18 The Photographic Eye
  • 17. Alfred Stieglitz, The Flat Iron, 1902.When he returned to the U.S. at theage of 26, he was delighted to findthat photography was extremely pop-ular. But he was also dismayed by thelack of publications and galleries pro-moting it as an art. For the next 56years, he devoted himself to correct-ing this situation. Along the way, he Alfred Stieglitz, Sun Rays-Paula-Berlin, 1889.produced some of the finest photo-graphs in history.
  • 18. FOCAL POINT: James Van Der Zee, 1886-1983 James Van Der Zee, Couple in Raccoon Coats, 1932. Courtesy Donna Van Der Zee. James Van Der Zee was unique in "straight" prints in the style of the studio, and produce a double- many ways. First and foremost, he Photo Secessionists (Stieglitz, exposed print showing their yet-to-be- was perhaps the most accomplished Weston, Steichen, etc.) as well as born child as a ghost beside them. black photographer in history, and is heavily manipulated images, which Van Der Zees photographic career certainly the best known today. His the Photo Secessionists had rejected. was far from easy. Though he record of Harlem in the 1920s is un- Moreover, he used both approaches became interested in photography at surpassed, in both quantity and interchangeably, according to his in- the age of 14 (when he purchased a quality. But he was unique in other terpretation of a particular scene. mail-order camera and darkroom ways as well. One day he might do a straight out- kit), he was 30 before he was able to Stylistically, he employed both door portrait of someone on the earn a living at it. In between, he stark realism and dreamy roman- street. And the next day he might worked as a waiter, elevator operator ticism. Technically, he produced pose a newly-wed couple in his and even as a violinist in a dance or-v. 20 The Photographic Eye
  • 19. chestra. His first photographic job,in 1914, was as a darkroom assistantin a department store in New YorkCity. Two years later, he opened hisown studio in Harlem. Though heoften had to change its location, VanDer Zee kept his studio in businessuntil 1969. In addition to skill and creativity, he was blessed with good timing. Black culture was flourishing in Harlem during the 1920s. Duke Ell- ington and others were redefining American music. Adam Clayton Powell, Langston Hughes, Countee Cullen and Marcus Garvey were help- ing to build a new black identity. And James Van Der Zee was the official and unofficial photographer for all of it. He photographed proud black couples in the streets of Harlem and in elegant clubs. Celebrities and "or- dinary people" posed in his studio. He photographed weddings and funerals. All together, he compiled some 75,000 glass plates, negatives and prints. All of it revealing a world that was all but ignored by the better- known photographers of that time. Van Der Zee received virtually no recognition outside of Harlem until Eugene Atget, LEscalier de LHotel Charron, 7900. 1967. At that time, he was featured in an exhibit, entitled "Harlem on My A New Breed proaches to photography. Mind," at New Yorks Metropolitan Photography was coming into its In Europe, Andre Kertesz, Eugene Museum of Art. For the last 14 years own, both as an art and as a business. Atget, Brassai, and Henri Carder- of his life, his photography was Alfred Steiglitz united photography Bresson were among the most not- widely exhibited, published and and painting by opening "Gallery able of the new wave of artist praised. He died at the age of 97, 291," which exhibited new work in photographers. They each devoted while in Washington, D.C. to receive either medium. In his own photog- themselves to capturing life as it an honorary degree from Howard raphy and in his critical judgment really was, in the boulevards and University. Steiglitz promoted a lively realism back alleys and country lanes of that eventually became the standard Europe. Yet each did so with a for art photography. From 1902 to distinct and original style, a unique 1917, he published Camera Work, the "way of seeing." They saw that first magazine devoted to artistic ap- photography was a new and indepen- From Blurs to Big Business 21
  • 20. Edward Steichen, Gloria Swanson,1924.dent art, not merely a cheap imitationof painting. Because of this, they —along with Steiglitz and otherAmerican peers — may be thought ofas the first modern photographers. More practical applications ofphotography also continued. One ofthe most notable examples was aphotographic survey, begun in 1935,of conditions during the GreatDepression. Dorothea Lange, Walk-er Evans and other first-rate pho-tographers were hired by this pro-ject by the U.S. governments FarmSecurity Administration and com-piled hundreds of photographs thatrank among the best ever produced. The use of photographs in publica-tions, a novelty as recently as 1900,was expanding rapidly. Life magazinestarted in 1936 and began a wholenew kind of publishing: photo-j o u r n a l i s m . Alfred Eisenstat,Margaret Bourke-White and otherphotographers on Lifes staff quicklybecame famous as they recorded theworlds events with their cameras. By the end of the 1930s, all thebasic ingredients that continue todefine photography were in place:Photography was increasingly ac- 1937 1938 1939 1947 1954 The SLR Automatic Electronic First First (single lens exposure flash Polaroid high-speed reflex) initiated by developed by camera film, Tri-X, camera Kodak with Dr. Harold developed by comes onto introduced to its 6-20 Edgerton. Edwin Land. market. the U.S. by camera. Exacta.22 The Photographic Eye
  • 21. Yousef Karsh, Ethiopian Bride, 1963. Courtesy Woodfin Camp and Associates. cepted as an art in its own right. Photojournalists were a major source of information and insight for the general public (a role that has since been largely taken over by television reporters). Advertising had begun using photography to catch attention or communicate a message. Portable cameras had made snapshots a na- tional hobby. Where Now? The list of technical advances in photography continues to get longer and longer (see the photographic time line), and the ranks of great photographers has expanded steadily as well. Edward Steichen, Minor White, Sebastiao Salgado, Edward Weston, Ansel Adams, Diane Arbus, Ernst Haas, Eugene Richards...the list is long and subject to fierce debate. Photography is still a young art. Painting, sculpture, writing, dance, acting and music have all been around for thousands of years. Even they continue to change at an often alarming rate. This is all the more true of photography, which has 1959 1966 1972 1985 1987 1991Development Konica Polaroid Minolta Canon Kodak of first introduces adds introduces debuts first launches zoom lens, first color the first "Commercial Photo CDthe Zoomar professional toils professional Still Video" system and 36-82. quality instant quality system. digital automatic cameras. automatic camera. exposure focus camera, camera. the Maxxum. From Blurs to Big Business 23
  • 22. FOCAL POINT: Manuel Alvarez Bravo, 1902-Throughout the world, photog-raphers have used the camera toobserve, interpret and record theirown cultures and environments. Inthe process, some have also achiev-ed unique styles that are particularlyappropriate to specific times and places. Manuel Alvarez Bravo is among a select group of photog- raphers who have gone a step further —discovering a way of seeing that seems to express the spirit of an entire culture. Great works of art are rarely created in a vacuum. Instead, even the most gifted artist draws on a lifetime of experiences and impres- sions. The work of other artists is almost always an important in- fluence. Additional influences may include ones level of wealth or poverty; the personalities and values of friends and family; the climate, colors, sounds and rituals that are part of daily life. By combining a variety of local and international in- fluences, some artists are able to create art t h a t breaks t h r o u g h cultural barriers without losing a Manuel Alvarez Bravo, Retrato de lo Eterno (Portrait of the Eternal), sense of cultural roots. Bravo is one 1935. Courtesy The Witkin Gallery, New York. photographer who has done this. In his case, the culture is that of leaders of a creative surge in Mexican In his best work, Bravo combinesMexico. He was born in Mexico City, art. the technical skill and confidence ofand has continued to be based there His first solo exhibit was held in photographers like Strand andthroughout his life. His father and Mexico City in 1932. Soon after, he Evans; the ability to capture agrandfather were both artists, one a became acquainted with Paul Strand, "decisive moment" that is char-painter and the other a photographer. Henri Carder-Bresson, Walker Evans acteristic of Carder-Bresson; and theBefore becoming interested in pho- and other photographers who were often disturbing dreamlike qualitiestography, Bravo studied literature, gaining international attention. of Surrealist paintings. To this mix ofmusic and painting, beginning in Bravo also met Andre Breton, who artistic influences, he adds a deep and1917. In 1922, he began experimen- is credited with creating the Surrealist proud understanding of Mexican cul-ting with photography. By 1926, he style of painting. Surrealism, which ture and a keen awareness of lightwas using a camera to produce employs the symbols and imagery of and mood. The result is a vision thatabstract images of folded paper. By dreams, became a major influence on is both highly private and universallythe early 1930s he was among the Bravos photographic style. accessible.24 The Photographic Eye
  • 23. Minor White, Moon and Wall Encrustations, 1964. barely passed its first century of wide- and how it works) is in the midst of The old distinctions between one spread use. radical transformation — a techno- form of art and another are breaking With most of the traditional arts, logical revolution. Photography it- down. Words, images and music arechange has primarily been a matter self is mutating into something new all beginning to merge. The musicof style. Michaelangelo and Picasso and strange and unpredictable. videos on MTV are one typical ex- used essentially the same materials Compared to that, stylistic changes ample of this trend. They arent sim-and techniques to produce vastly dif- hardly seem to matter. ply songs and they arent quite ferent results. Writers may use com- What is actually happening is that movies. They are a new hybrid: mu-puters now, rather than quill pens, but photography (along with computer sic and film merging into a new formthe process of writing hasnt really graphics, electronic music and other of creative expression. Some of themchanged very much since Shake- technology-based arts) is moving tell stories. Some are more like mini-speares day. Writing styles, however, away from the traditional, "manual" documentaries. Some resemble thehave changed enormously. arts (such as painting or classical song-and-dance numbers of a In the case of photography, al- music). As a result, we are discover- Broadway musical. Similarly, it is in-most the opposite is now true: Pho- ing entirely new ideas of how art may creasingly difficult to define the dif-tographys essential nature (what it is be created and experienced. ference between a painting and a From Blurs to Big Business 25
  • 24. photograph, or even between a pho-tograph and a poem. In addition, all of the arts are be-coming more participatory. In thevery near future, it may no longer bestandard procedure for an artist tocreate some specific "thing" - a photograph or a symphony — which others simply receive by looking or listening. Instead, each individual viewer or listener will have the power to edit, combine and transform an enormous array of images and sounds. Your photograph will be raw material which you may manipulate in any way you please, and to which others may then add their own inter- pretations — and it will all be done by computer. It is far too early to tell if all of this is actually an improve- ment, but it is certainly a change. That is whats coming. But it isnt quite here yet. We are standing on the bridge be- tween photographys past and its fu- ture. And so we are able to move back and forth between them. We can shoot a roll of film on Uncle Franks old Pentax, make a print in a traditional darkroom and then re- interpret it on a copy machine — or scan it into a Mac and make it all look really weird. There is still a se- cure place for conventional art pho- tography, and a wide open field for experimentation. We are at the end of an era — and Wedding photography requires technical accuracy, good social skills and and at the start of a new one. This is a the ability to quickly arrange natural poses for individuals and large groups. privileged place to be. Enjoy it. Photograph by Donald Butler. PHOTOGRAPHIC pictures for pleasure. Even many of photographers have died penniless. CAREERS the best-known art photographers At least a few have made good liv- pay their bills by doing commer- ings without having much skill orThe number of people who earn a cial photography or other work on creativity. Thats the way of all art —"living wage" from any art is always the side. timing, luck and who you know arerelatively small. Photography is cer- Unfortunately, being "good" or at least as important as masteringtainly a case in point. Most pho- even "the best" wont necessarily your craft.tographers are hobbyists who take make any difference. Many excellent26 The Photographic Eye
  • 25. Fortunately, however, commercial the day. Freelancers tend to earn Arnold Newman, Igor Stravinsky, photography can be a very rewarding more than staff photographers for 1946. career or sideline. Everything from each day they work, but staff photog- weddings to wars seems to require a raphers work more steadily. In other flash photography, since much of photographic record. Most commer- words, staff photographers are less their work is done indoors on loca- cial products rely on photography for likely either to get rich or to go broke. tion. In addition, they must be skilled packaging and advertising. And there Freelancers take more risks and have at interacting well with all sorts of is even a steadily growing market for a better chance of making it big. people. By and large, wedding photographs as pure art — though its photography does not demand much not likely to make you rich. Weddings and Portraits artistry —most clients dont want art. The basic categories of profes- Probably the largest number of pro- Its a good line of work for anyonesional photographic work include: fessional photographers are primarily who enjoys the technical side ofweddings and other social events, devoted to photographing social photography and who likes toportraiture, journalism, product events, especially weddings. The pay and fashion. Depending can be quite good —several hundred Closely related to weddings andon the work you choose, the time you dollars per day. Many wedding pho- social events is p o r t r a i t u r e -devote to it and your luck and skill, tographers are represented by an photographing a single person oryou could earn from a few hundred agent who sets up photo assignments small group. Whether its for ato over a thousand dollars a day. for them. Many work only a couple passport photo or a prom portrait, In each of these categories, there of days each week, generally week- everyone needs a photographer some-are two ways of working: staff and ends (when weddings are most com- time. Virtually every town in thefreelance. A staff photographer is monly held). Wedding photographers country has at least one studio forjust like any employee, receiving a must be able to produce consistently just these kinds of things. Here again,salary and clocking regular hours. A good results, since theres no chance the main requirements are technicalfreelance photographer is hired for for re-shooting if things get messed consistency —particularly in terms ofspecific jobs and is generally paid by up. They must be especially good at studio lighting —and social grace. From Blurs to Big Business 27
  • 26. PhotojournalismJournalistic photography ranges FOCAL POINT: Margaret Bourke-Whitefrom covering a fire on Elm Street forthe local newspaper to traveling to Today we take photojournalism for After becoming a staff photog-Tahiti for a major magazine. Photo- granted. We expect our magazine ar- rapher for Life magazine in 1936,journalists must possess good in- ticles to be illustrated with photo- Bourke-White continued to coverstincts above all else. Sensing when graphs that add insights and impact both technological progress anda photo opportunity is about to oc- of their own. But, like photography human suffering. The very first issuecur and knowing how to handle it are itself, photojournalism had to be in- of Life featured one of her photo-of vital importance. Being a first-rate vented. One of the people who played graphs on the cover: a dramaticphoto-technician is helpful . . . but a major role in inventing it was image of a massive dam constructionnot strictly essential. Margaret Bourke-White. project. She provided extensive A more commercial field related to While in college, Bourke-White coverage of World War II, most photojournalism is freelance location discovered that she excelled at pho- notably the horrors discovered when photography. Corporate annual tography. After graduating from the Allies liberated the concentration reports, slide presentations, promo- Cornell, she began working as a pro- camps. She photographed the gran- tional brochures, in-house publica- fessional photographer. She was deur and starvation of India in the tions, trade magazines (Plumbers especially intrigued by the surge of late 1940s, black South African Digest or New England Beverage technological developments at that Miners in 1950, and the Korean War Retailer, for example) all require time and used her camera to convey in 1952. professional-quality photography. the power and beauty she saw in By the mid-1950s, Bourke-White Being able to handle any lighting or everything from clock parts to steel was suffering from Parkinsons composition challenge quickly and mills. From 1929 to 1933, she was an Disease, which progressively reduces accurately is the critical factor here. industrial photographer for Fortune the bodys ability to control its move- An ability to blend into the corporate magazine. Her work there was not ments. She left the staff of Life in environment is also essential. limited to machine parts and con- 1969 and died two years later.Razzle Dazzle struction projects, however. In 1934, Though she was neither a masterAt the top of the career heap finan- she covered the drought known as the stylist nor an exceptional technician,cially are illustration, product, food "Dust Bowl" that swept through the Bourke-White was among the first toand fashion photography. This is Great Plains, showing how that trag- clearly understand the cameraswhere knowing the right people and edy affected the lives of farmers and power to record "history in the mak-being in the right place at the right their families. This article was a mile- ing." She helped establish standardstime are of critical importance. A stone in photojournalism. Though for commitment, concern and sheerflair for style helps too. You also other photographers, such as Lewis energy that photojournalists havehave to be very good if you expect to Hine, had done similar reporting on struggled to live up to ever since.have more than a brief career. The social issues, none had done so for acompetition is stiff because the major magazine.rewards are high. A top-notch pro-duct, food or fashion photographerwill charge $2,000 or more per day.A comparable illustration photog-rapher might earn the same amountfor a single photograph. Nice workif you can get it.28 The Photographic Eye
  • 27. 1904-71Margaret Bourke-White, Airship Akron, Winner Goodyear Zeppelin Race, 1931. From Blurs to Big Business 29
  • 28. A flair for the exotic and a sophisticated sense of humor are important assets in fashion photography. Photograph byBane Kapsu.30 The Photographic Eye
  • 29. Variations services to other photographers. prints, but be sure to include the run-Mixed in with these general categories Retouchers, for example, are paid ning head or foot that indicates theare numerous photographic special- handsomely to fix mistakes or other- name and date of the publication.)ties: scientific, sports, underwater, wise alter a photos appearance. Your portfolio should also be tai-travel, architectural, art reproduc- Skilled darkroom techicians, special- lored to the kind of work youretion, etc. Matching your skills and in- izing in black and white or color, are seeking. If you hope to be hired as aterests to one of these niches may be highly regarded and well paid. lab technician, emphasize printthe most satisfying career path of all. Finally, there are many other jobs quality. If you want to cover localBy specializing in one particular that dont require regular use of a news events, include some goodaspect of photography, rather than camera or darkroom but can, none- action shots. If advertising interestscompeting in a broader category, you theless, keep a photographer "in you, try to create some still-life pho-have a good chance of establishing a touch." These include selling and tographs that have the "look-and-clear identity and of focusing in on repairing cameras, maintaining feel" of studio composition anda steady market. Word-of-mouth rec- photographic libraries or stock- lighting. If youd like to pursue fash- ommendation is always a photog- agency files, curating in photography ion photography, you might team up raphers best advertising. You stand galleries or museums, or even help- with a friend who aspires to a career to benefit most from it if you earn a ing to develop new designs, formulas in modeling — working together to good reputation for a specific set of and processes for cameras or film. produce some fashion shots that you skills. both can use. And, of course, if you If you enjoy photographing build- Looking Ahead hope to sell your work as art, then ings, for example, you can make a In virtually any photography-related your portfolio must show that youve career of it, hiring yourself out to ar- field, the key to getting started is to attained a high level of skill and crea- chitectural and construction firms or put together a winning portfolio — tivity. to design magazines. If youre very an elegant, professional collection of As you progress through this precise and detail oriented, you might your best work. Your portfolio will course, it is a good idea to keep your get into photographing art for tell a prospective employer or client long-range goals in mind. Its never museums. If you like flying, you what you can do, so it should be of a too early to begin preparing for might consider aerial photography. If consistently high standard — right them. Even if you have no interest in you prefer swimming, consider down to the details of excellent print a photographic career, your portfo- underwater photography. quality, good mounting technique lio is your own record of achieve- There are career opportunities in and slick presentation. If you are ment. And you never know when it photographic processing as well. fortunate enough to have some of may come in handy, so you may as Here again, developing a specific set your photographs published (by a lo- well do it right. of skills is recommended. Some pho- cal newspaper, for example, or even Effective presentation (and atten- tographers specialize in a photo- in a school publication) these - tion to detail) is vitally important in graphic style that requires certain called tear sheets (as in a torn-out any line of work. Mastering photo- processes, such as antique style sepia- page) — should be included as well: graphic technique and preparing a toned or hand-tinted prints. When Cut out the full page on which your good portfolio will teach you valu- someone needs that particular style photograph appears and mount it as able skills which will serve you well, for a magazine illustration or cor- you would a standard print, or slip it no matter what career you ultimately porate annual report, a specialist will into a plastic sheet. (Use part of a choose. generally be selected. The same rule page if the whole thing is too big to applies to those who offer processing fit the size mat youre using for your From Blurs to Big Business 31
  • 30. part 2 Elements of CompositionStudent photograph by Michael Grassia. 33
  • 31. Student photograph.34 The Photographic Eye
  • 32. chapter 2 Tools hotographic technology isIP changing so fast that it is ut- terly impossible to define the standard tools-of-the-trade with any degree of precision. Cameras now in use range from clumsy boxes with lots of knobs and dials to the latest high-tech whiz-bang contrap- tions which look like props from Star Trek. Photographic images can now be stored on an astonishing array of films — plus CDs, computer disks and video tape. By the time you read this, it is likely other new technolo- gies will have appeared, promising even greater ease, efficiency and op- portunities. This is all well and good, but there is also real value in understanding the basic principles of photography — and that is much easier to do with the old fashioned, manual ap- If you choose your camera carefully and practice with it often, youll soon proach. True, it does take more time learn to use it with very little effort or conscious thought. It will become to produce a photograph in this way. simply an extension of eyes and hands—responsive, accurate and And potentially great shots can be comfortable. (Student photograph by Trevor Bredenkamp.) missed while you fiddle with those knobs and dials. But there is a writing with an antique fountain pen full of clever attachments and acces- unique satisfaction in knowing ex- is infinitely preferable to tapping at a sories. In fact, odds are that you will actly what your camera is doing and computer keyboard, there are bene- become a better photographer if you why, controlling it to achieve the ef- fits to cameras that lack the latest begin with a second-hand, second- fect you choose rather than merely automation. rate old clunker that looks like an pointing and shooting. The essential point to all this is artifact from the Stone Age. So, it is perhaps fortunate that that theres no need to worry if you Not everyone needs the same kind technological advances take some cant afford to buy a slick new cam- of tool —whether that tool is a time to settle in and push aside the era with all the bells and whistles, a camera or a musical instrument. A past. Just as there are times when stash of fancy lenses and a suitcase concert violinist may require the best 35
  • 33. violin money can buy, but a bluessinger may make fine music with anold beat-up guitar. Similarly, some ofthe worlds best photographers usethe latest "high-tech" cameras; othersuse antiques held together with rub-ber bands and tape. The right choicefor most of us is somewhere betweenthese extremes. Like any tool, each camera has a"personality" —a mixture of oppor-tunities and limitations that you con-trol to express your personal vision.The goal in selecting a camera is tofind one that does what you need itto do, no more and no less. In otherwords, the right camera for you isone with a "personality" that matchesyour own. So, the first rule for choosing a Manual cameras provide a greater amount of creative control, especially camera is to make the best of what with lighting. This photograph would have been virtually impossible with you already have or can easily afford. most purely automatic cameras, since the lighting effect is not "normal." After you become more experienced, (Student photograph.) youll be more able to decide exactly what features you need. Thats the used to make distant objects appear want to try other lenses, so it is a time to invest in your particular closer. good idea to use a camera that will dream machine. For now, however, The most popular and inexpensive allow you to do this. Once again, use what you have. If you dont yet cameras have a fixed lens. A fixed however, it is not essential. If your own a camera, buy the least expen- lens cannot be removed and, there- budget restricts you to a fixed-lens sive one that meets your basic needs. fore, cannot be changed. Though not camera, you will still be able to take The money you save can be spent on essential, interchangeable lenses can perfectly good photographs. film and chemicals, which are far be a great asset. more important at this stage than the Some modern cameras offer a Manual or Automatic quality of your camera. compromise between fixed and inter- If you are buying a camera, you have One thing that is important, no changeable lenses: permanently at- two basic choices: manual ormatter which camera you buy, is tached zooms. Others allow you to automatic. Manual cameras havedurability. No matter how careful switch from a wide-angle to a tele- been in use far longer than automaticyou are, your camera is likely to get photo lens, both of which are at- cameras, and they are still preferred knocked around a bit. Get one that is tached to the camera body. by many professionals. They requirestrong enough to take abuse. Generally, these kinds of lenses are you to load and wind the film, select One of the most important dif- too limited to be very useful, but the shutter speed, set the aperture,ferences among cameras is the lenses theyll do in a pinch. and focus. Automatic cameras willthat can be used with them. An inter- There is no need to rush out and do some or all of these things for you.changeable lens can be removed from buy a telephoto or any other non- The big advantage of a manualthe camera body and replaced with standard lens immediately. For your camera is that you always controlanother lens that produces a different first assignments, you will be using what it is doing. You make the deci-effect. For example, a telephoto lens, only the standard 50mm lens. Even- sions, and the camera does what youwhich works like a telescope, may be tually, however, you will probably36 The Photographic Eye
  • 34. what the camera is doing, you can use the automatic light meter most of the time and still learn how to use light effectively. If you dont make that ef- fort you wont learn much, and youll end up taking a lot of "normal" and probably boring pictures. If you are shooting a lot of "can- dids" (quick, unposed photographs), like most photojournalists, the automatic option can be a big help — since you wont miss a good shot or annoy your subject while you fumble with knobs and dials. If youre doing a lot of still-life or nature photog- raphy, or if you prefer to take your time, as most art photographers do, a manual camera will do just as well, and will teach you more. All the other automatic featuresAutomatic cameras are especially useful for "grab shots," when theres no are far less important. Loading andtime to fiddle with knobs and dials. By letting the camera make the winding the film manually will soontechnical decisions, the photographer is able to concentrate on getting the become second nature to you, so hav-timing just right. (Student photograph by Lauren McDermott.) ing it done automatically is not much of an advantage (unless you havetell it to do. As a result, you will learn this may sound very appealing, there reason to be in a real hurry). Auto-what works and what doesnt. You is a problem — and that problem is the focus is another asset for the "grab-will also make mistakes (which is how "probably." shooter," though focusing shouldntyou learn). The main disadvantage of As you become a more experienced take more than a split second oncea manual camera is the amount of photographer, you will sometimes you get the hang of it.time required to set up a shot. disagree with your cameras choice. Most manual cameras now avail- You may want a picture to be a bit What Format?able in the 35mm format have a built- darker or lighter for effect, or the Most modern cameras use 35mmin light meter. The meter informs you camera may be "confused" by a com- film. This is a relatively small formatof the lighting conditions, and you set plex lighting situation. With full that allows many frames to fit on athe speed and aperture accordingly. automatic, theres not much you can single roll. As a result, it costs less perOlder cameras, and many studio do to change the cameras decision. shot than larger formats. In addition,models, require you to use a hand- This is a poor choice for anyone the smaller format means the cameraheld light meter to "read" the light, who really wants to learn about can be smaller and lighter, so itsbefore you set the camera. photography. easier to carry and use. Cameras with automatic light Manual-override offers a solution. There is one advantage to largermetering also fall into two categories: When youre sure the camera will formats: the grain of the film. Allfull automatic and manual-override. make the right decisions (i.e. when film stores images in tiny dots. WhenA full automatic chooses the aperture you want a normal photograph in a the film is enlarged, the dots begin toor shutter speed, or both, according normal lighting situation), you let the show. This is grain. If you are mak-to a built-in computer that is pro- camera decide. When you disagree, ing a large print (such as for an ex-grammed to make the decision you you set the camera manually. If you hibit or a full page in a magazine),would probably make anyway. While make an effort to pay attention to grain can be a problem. Too much Tools 37
  • 35. Each kind of lens has its own characteristics and uses. The wide-angle lens used for this photograph produced aslightly surreal effect. Much of the photographs impact would have been lost with either a normal or a telephotolens. (Student photograph by John Berringer.)grain reduces the image quality. It Choosing a Lens look the same as what you see withbegins to look "grainy." In many ways, choosing the right lens your own eyes. Whatever lenses you For most uses, including most ex- or lenses is even more important than eventually buy, you will want to in-hibit formats, the ease of using choosing the right camera. clude the 50mm range. (By the way,35mm outweighs the drawbacks of Once youve selected some brand if you find 50mm lenses and 35mmgrain. And, as films continue to im- names you trust and can afford, you film confusing, dont worry. Theseprove, grain is becoming less and less face another choice: which lenses to and other terms will graduallyof a problem. After youve devel- buy. Most cameras come equipped become familiar to you as you useoped your skill and style, you may with a 50mm lens. This is the stan- them.)want to move up to larger formats, dard lens for 35mm photography, If you have a choice (and you oftenbut you can decide that later. because it is closest to normal vision. wont) you might consider buying the What you see through the camera will camera body and lens separately.38 The Photographic Eye
  • 36. This will enable you to choose a your photo career with only a wide- camera manufacturers make lensesvariable focal-length, or "zoom," lens angle or only a telephoto. Its per- for their cameras that you can trustinstead of a "fixed focal-length" lens. fectly all right to start it with only a to be as well-made as the cameras. In As explained in Chapter 11, the 50mm. Once again, the best pro- addition, cameras with automatic focal-length of a lens determines how cedure is probably to start simply, features may require that you staywide an area you can see through it. with just a standard lens, and add with the same brand when buying In effect, the 50mm lens draws a box others as you decide you need them. lenses. However, many companies within which objects are normal in If you are thinking of investing in produce lenses designed for use with size and proportion. A shorter lens, more than one lens, review Chapter a variety of cameras. These may be such as a 35mm, draws a larger box, 11 before making any decisions. as good as or better than the camera and makes objects appear smaller manufacturers own lenses and often and somewhat "bent" or distorted. A What Price? cost less. Read the reviews in camera longer lens, such as a 135mm, draws How much should you pay for a magazines and ask for the advice of a smaller box, making objects appear camera? Well, it really depends on experienced photographers before larger and more compressed (with what you can easily afford. Good you decide. less space between them). With each cameras are available for as little as One final note on lenses: Buy a UV fixed focal-length lens you have only $50. Top professional models can (ultraviolet) or a "skylight" filter for one choice. cost several thousand dollars. each lens, attach it and leave it on at With a zoom (variable focal- If your budget limits you to under all times. Either of these filters will length) lens, you have many choices. $100, buy the best manual camera help a little to reduce haze under A zoom lens is essentially several you can f i n d —perhaps a good some lighting conditions, but their lenses in one. For example, if a zoom second-hand model. If you can af- real use is to protect the lens itself lens ranges from 35mm to 135mm, ford more, take a careful look at the from damage. Should you acciden- you will have the same choices as you $100 to $500 range, keeping in mind tally scratch the filter, it can be inex- would if you bought the three focal- the features you care most about pensively replaced. Replacing the lens lengths just mentioned (35mm, (automatic features, manual features, would of course be far more costly. 50mm and 135mm), plus all the durability, lenses), and buy the one focal-lengths in between. that best suits you. A fully profes- Summary Any good modern zoom lens will sional camera system —which you ab- There are only three key points you match the image quality of a typical solutely do not need at this stage — i s need to understand at this point: fixed focal-length lens. (Early zooms likely to cost over $1,000, depending First, start with the basics —a simple, produced poor image quality at "in- on your choice of lenses. relatively inexpensive camera with a between" focal-lengths, such as Before buying any camera, read 50mm lens. Ideally, your camera will 42mm. This problem has been cor- reviews of several in camera permit you to use other ("inter- rected on most modern models.) You magazines (see the Bibliography for changeable") lenses as well. You will, however, almost certainly lose names of some good ones). Ask should have at least one lens thatsome of the lower (larger) apertures someone you know who does a lot of opens up to f/2.8, and all lensesoffered by fixed focal-length lenses. photography to give you some should have UV or skylight filters at-Since a large aperture lets in more recommendations. Then make an in- tached. Second, choose a camera thatlight than a small one, a zoom lens formed decision. includes manual controls for aperturemay limit your ability to photograph Selecting a lens may be more dif- and shutter-speed. Full manual isin low-light situations or at high shut- ficult. The quality of the glass and fine; automatic features are nice ex-ter speeds. construction varies considerably. A tras, but they are not necessary. If your budget permits, it is useful cheap lens may result in photographs Third, make sure that both yourto have the three basic lens ranges: that are always out of focus, blurry camera and lens are manufactured bywide-angle, "normal" (50mm), and around the edges or grainy. a reliable company. If you begin withtelephoto. However, the normal lens A good rule of thumb is to stick these essentials, youll be wellis the most important. Do not start with the brand names you know. All equipped to learn photography. Tools 39
  • 37. Additional Tools tions for your camera available at all mini-computers. Many are utterlyOnce youve selected a camera and times. If you are buying a new unlike the traditional models. Somelens (or lenses), you have taken care camera, this will be easy. If not, you new ones, for example, come with aof the big decisions. Later, you may may have to search a bit, or buy one built-in auto-winder and dont havewant to add other tools, such as a of the many books available describ- a film advance lever at all.tripod and flash, but they can wait. ing different camera models. If you So, the following pages are not in-Refer to Appendix 4 for more infor- cant locate instructions, have some- tended as a substitute for yourmation on them when the time one who knows the camera well show cameras manual. No one list can becomes. There are, however, a few you how it works —and be sure to correct and complete for all cameraother inexpensive tools youll need in take notes. brands and models. You may have toorder to get started. hunt a bit to locate some of the com- As soon as you begin producing Basic Tools Checklist ponents on your camera, since each photographs, youll want to store The following tools are all you will model tends to have its little quirks. your negatives and prints, to keep need to get started. Check to see that Check your own manual to be sure them clean and organized. Plastic you have them, and that your camera that you know where each compo- sheets specially designed for storing and lens meet the key requirements nent is located on your camera and negatives are available that fit into a listed here: how it works. standard three-ring binder. Buy a box The following pages are intended Camera Requirements of these and a binder to file them in. as a summary of the basic com- Durability Immediately after developing and ponents of a typical, traditional Manual Aperture & Shutter- drying each roll of film, you will cut camera. This will give you an idea of Speed Controls the roll into shorter lengths (five how your camera compares to most Reliable Manufacturer frames each) and slip them into the others. Interchangeable Lens negative file. The next step is to place You may not find all of the com- Capability the film directly onto a piece of ponents that are listed here, either photographic paper to make a con- Lens Requirements because they are not included in your tact print (see Appendix 1 for ex- Standard Focal-Length camera or because they have been planation). With a plastic negative (50mm) replaced by an automatic feature. It file, this can be done directly. Paper 172.8 is still a good idea to become familiar files are also available. They require Reliable Manufacturer with all of them. Understanding each you to remove the film to make a _ UV Filter component of a traditional camera contact print, however, so are not as will help you understand how even Additional Tools easy to use as plastic sheets. the simplest or most automatic Plastic Negative Files Similar sheets are available for camera works. And knowing how a Plastic Print Sheets storing prints. If your photo store camera works is vital to using it well. Grease Pencil doesnt carry them, you can probably As you read this section, compare find them in an office supply store. Operations Manual or Other each description with your own Any plastic sheet that will hold Instructions for Camera camera. Be sure to have your own 8/2" x 11" paper, with holes for a THE CAMERA, INSIDE cameras manual on hand to clarify three-ring binder, will do fine. & OUT any questions. Look for each compo- You will also want an ordinary nent as it is described, and try it out.grease pencil (yellow or white) to Most 35mm cameras are fairly similar Do not put film into the camera un-mark your contacts when youre in the design and placement of key til instructed to do so.deciding which frames to print. controls. For example, the film ad-Grease pencil marks show up well vance lever (the "winder") is generallyin the darkroom, and they can be on the top right, next to the shutterrubbed off if you change your mind. release. Advances in electronics, Finally, be sure to have the instruc- however, are turning cameras into40 The Photographic Eye
  • 38. The Camera Body: Outside • ViewfinderThe first thing to look at on yourcamera is the part that allows you tolook through it. The viewfinder, insimplest terms, is just a rectangularwindow that shows you what will bein your photograph when you clickthe shutter. (Actually, viewfindersgenerally show you a bit less thanyoull actually get. This is usually anadvantage, as it gives you a little"slack" when youre making a print.) Your viewfinder is probably quitea bit more than just a window,however. It certainly will includesome kind of focusing aid. One com-mon focusing aid is a split circle(called a split-image focusing screen)in which out-of-focus objects do notline up correctly. Another commonkind is a series of circles (called aground-glass focusing screen) that goin and out of focus as you turn thefocusing ring on the lens. The split-image screen is especiallyhelpful if youre at all nearsighted. Touse it, you simply adjust the focus-ing ring until both sides of the circleline up. It works best when the splitis placed across a line of some kind,such as an eyelid or a branch, so youcan see what youre lining up. In addition, most modern camerasuse the sides of the viewfinder toshow you important information.This may include the aperture of yourlens, the cameras shutter-speed, Tools 41
  • 39. whether the camera is in manual or You must remember to change theautomatic mode, whether your flash ISO setting every time you use a dif-has recharged, etc. ferent kind of film. If you are using Take some time to explore your any automatic exposure system, yourviewfinder. If you arent certain what camera will base its decisions on theeverything in it means, consult the ISO setting youve selected. If itsusers manual for your camera or ask wrong, all your photos will be incor-an experienced photographer. rectly exposed. The same holds true for the cam- eras internal light meter. If youre • Shutter-Speed Control setting the shutter speed or aperture The shutter-speed control is almost according to the meter, your ex- always on the top right of the camera. posures will only be correct if the ISO It determines how long the shutter setting is correct. Even if youre do- will remain open for each photo- ing everything manually, the ISO set- graph. It is simply a timer. When you ting is an important reminder of what press the shutter release, the shutter kind of film youre using. opens, light enters through the lens, To change the ISO setting, you and the timer begins counting. When generally turn a knob that moves the the shutter has been open for the • ASA/ISO numbers through the indicator win- amount of time you have selected, it The first step of any photo assign- dow. You may first need to press a closes again. The numbers on the ment is to set the correct film speed. button, lift the knob or otherwise shutter-speed control indicate frac- This will be listed on the film carton, release a lock designed to prevent you tions of a second (60 = 1760 of a sec- or box, (and also on the canister, the from changing the setting acciden- ond, and so on), so the timer has to metal container holding the film) as tally. On many modern cameras, count very quickly. ASA or ISO. These two terms are youll change the ISO by pressing a The most commonly used shutter used to describe the same thing: the button until the right number comes speeds are probably 60 and 125. Both films sensitivity to light. In fact they up in a display panel. Some cameras are fast enough to stop most actionoften appear together, as ASA/ISO. will set the ISO for you automat- with a 50mm lens, while allowing for ISO is becoming the more common ically, reading the proper setting from a fairly small aperture in most term, however, so well be using it a code on the film canister. (Film that lighting conditions. throughout this book. (Both "ASA" has been coded for this purpose is Notice that 125 (or 1/125 of a sec- and "ISO" are the initials of labeled "DX.") ond) is almost exactly twice as fast as organizations —the American Stan- Locate the ISO indicator on your 60 (or 1/60 of a second). The next dards Association and the Interna- camera. Adjust the setting to see how speed above 125 is 250— twice as fasttional Standards Organization —that low and high it goes. Professional again. Depending on your camera,establish scientific measurements.) cameras will provide ISO settings as the highest speed may be 1000 or even The ISO indicator is generally built low as 6 and as high as 6400. Many higher, fast enough to "freeze" a birdinto the rewind knob, on the left side popular models have a range of 12 to in flight or a race car at the Indy 500.of the top of the camera. The ISO 3200. Dont worry if yours doesnt go Moving down from 60, the nextnumbers are usually visible through as high or as low as that. Most films speed is 30. Again depending on youra little window in the rewind knob. fall between ISO 25 and 1200. camera, the shutter speeds may go asEach number is usually double the Once youve checked out the limits low as 1, for 1 second. Some cameraspreceding number: 25, 50, 100, 200, of your cameras ISO indicator, set provide even longer automatically400, 800, etc. Dots between the it to ISO 125. This is the speed for timed exposures, even as long as anumbers indicate settings in between Kodaks Plus-X film, which you will minute or more.these numbers. So, for example, ISO be using in your first assignment. The last indicator on the shutter-125 is one dot above ISO 100. speed control should be a "B." This
  • 40. stands for "bulb." In the early daysof photography, the shutter wasreleased by squeezing a rubber bulb,and it stayed open as long as the bulbwas squeezed. The photographer hadto decide when enough light hadentered the camera, and then let goof the bulb to close the shutter. Sincefilm was very slow in those days, thatwasnt as hard as it sounds. • Film Advance Lever • Rewinder Today, although everything about The film-advance lever (or winder) is Once youve released the film lock,the cameras we use is far more com- generally located directly behind the youll need to crank the film back in-plex, this term remains the same. The shutter release, making it easy to to its canister, using the rewind knob"B" simply means that the shutter will click-and-wind quickly. on the left side of the cameras top.remain open as long as the release is Try turning the winder (counter- Generally, a small crank is lifted outheld down. This is useful for very clockwise). If it doesnt move more of the rewind knob for this purpose.long exposures, primarily at night. than an inch, press the shutter There should be an arrow indicatingTo use the "B" setting, you will release. You should hear a sharp that the crank turns clockwise, in casealmost certainly need to use a tripod click. Then try the winder again. It you get confused. As you rewind theand a cable release, which (like the should swing easily out to the side of film, it is a good idea to keep yourold-fashioned bulbs) is used to avoid the camera and snap back into place finger on the rewind release button soshaking the camera. when you let go of it. If you had film it doesnt lock again and tear the in the camera, you would have just films sprocket holes. taken a photograph and advanced the • Battery Compartment film to the next frame. Another important component is • Rewind Release generally located on the bottom of As you wind film through the the camera: the battery compart- camera, it travels from its canister (on ment. If yours is there, it will prob- the left) to the "take-up reel" below ably have a round metal cover with the advance lever (on the right). a slit in it. To open the compartment, When you reach the end of a roll, the you place the edge of a coin (a penny lever will jam. You will no longer be works well) into the slit and turn it able to turn it easily. The next step counter-clockwise. When the cover is• Shutter Release is to rewind the film back into the removed, a small packet with one orNext to the shutter-speed control (top canister. two coin-shaped batteries should slideright of the camera) you should find Before you can do that, youll need out. These batteries are very sensitivethe shutter release. It is simply a but- to release the lock that keeps the film and may not work if you get dust orton which, when pressed, triggers the from slipping backwards by acci- fingerprints on them. So treat themshutter mechanism. (Note: On some dent. Remove the camera from its carefully. Fortunately, your batteriescameras, the shutter release is pressed case and look on the bottom of the rarely need changing.part-way down to measure the light camera body. You should find a If you found a round metal coveror "freeze" the aperture setting.) small button directly below the film with a slit in it, but did not find any advance lever. batteries under it, then youve prob- Pressing this button will release the ably just discovered your cameras lock, so you can rewind the film. motor-drive connector. This is a gear (Until there is film in the camera, that connects a separate motor-drive however, it wont have any effect, so unit to your cameras film advance dont bother testing it yet.) mechanism. (To learn more about Tools 43
  • 41. motor-drives, see Appendix 4.) In mounted. It establishes an electronic frame of film. If you want to playthis case, your cameras battery is link between the flash and the with multiple images, "ghosts" andlocated elsewhere. Most likely its in camera. This link enables the camera related special effects, this mech-a compartment on the front of the to "trigger" the flash while the shut- anism will allow you to do body, on the right side. If so, ter is fully open. It may also enable Depth of Field Preview Buttonits likely that your camera uses bat- the flash and camera to "communi- Normally, your lens will stay open toteries to run both the light meter and cate," so the flash can "tell" the the largest aperture available until a variety of automatic features. The camera what aperture to use, or the you click the shutter. This gives you more automatic features your camera camera can "tell" the flash when it has as much light in the viewfinder as has, the more power it requires, and received enough light. (See Appendix possible to help you focus precisely. the more frequently youll need fresh 4 for more information on flashes.) The depth of field preview button batteries. Check your manual to find • Accessories temporarily closes the lens down to out how to change them. The next three components are not the aperture youve selected, so you • Battery Check essential and are not included in all see exactly what the film will see. As The placement and operation of the models. If your camera has them, explained in Chapter 9, the smaller battery check varies considerably however, they can be useful. the aperture, the greater the range of from one camera model to the next. distance that will be in focus. This It may be activated by a button on range is known as depth of field. the top or on the front of the body. If you have selected a small aper- It may cause a needle in the view- ture (say, f/16) pressing the depth of finder to move to an assigned spot, field preview button will cause the or light up an indicator lamp. Or it viewfinder to become dark (due to may be fully automatic, activating an the small aperture). If you look indicator only when the battery is carefully, youll see that nearly low. Take a moment to locate the everything is in crisp focus. If youve battery-check function on your selected a moderate aperture (say, camera, using the manual, and be f/5.6), the background will be out of sure you know how it works. Few Self-Timer The primary purpose focus when the foreground is in things are more depressing in of the self-timer is to permit you to focus, and vice versa. If youve photography than discovering too take a picture of yourself. It usually selected your largest aperture, the late that your camera has dead consists of a lever that you turn depth of field preview button wont batteries. before pressing the shutter release. have any effect at all, since the depth The timer starts counting as soon as of field stays the same. the shutter release is pressed, gen- The primary function of the depth erally giving you a few seconds to of field preview button is to help you position yourself in front of the select the correct aperture when depth camera and work on your smile. of field is of critical importance. Most self-timers also include a little Youll find it especially useful when light that blinks to tell you its shooting close-ups. working. • Camera Back Release Multiple-Exposure Control This Now comes the tricky part. Because feature stops the film advance you dont want your camera to open mechanism from working, so you can itself accidentally, the latch that • Hot Shoe move the lever without moving the keeps the back shut is often cleverly Nearly all modern cameras come film. This enables you to cock the hidden. In addition, releasing it tends equipped with a "hot shoe." This is shutter for a new shot, while the film to require several steps. Generally, a small clamp right above the stays where it is. You can then put the release is connected in some way eyepiece, onto which a flash can be more than a single shot onto a single to pulling up the rewind knob (which44 The Photographic Eye
  • 42. second. The metal plate attached to the camera back (see it?) presses the film fiat. (This is another of the cameras "dont touch" parts.) The shutter opens and closes, letting a very precise amount of light in through the lens. The light exposes one piece (or frame) of film, initiating the chemical reaction that produces a negative im- age. The film is advanced to a fresh (unexposed) frame and the process is repeated until the film has all been ex- posed. That, in very simplified form, is how a camera works.also frees the film canister from itssprocket). If in doubt, once again,consult your manual.The Camera Body: InsideBefore we explore the internal work-ings of your camera, a few generalwords of caution are in order.Though the outside of most camerascan stand a fair amount of abuse, the • Shutterinside cant. Once youve opened the The first thing youre likely to noticecamera back, you have exposed some once you open the camera back isvery delicate machinery. This is one also the most fragile and important:time that strict rules do apply: Dont the shutter. This is a piece of clothpoke around with your fingers until or a series of small metal plates cover-you know what youre poking. Dont ing the rectangular space directlytry to "fix" things, even if they appear below the viewfinder. It is as delicate • Film Spoolto be broken. If you think some- as it looks, so do not touch it. To the left of the shutter screen is thethings wrong, take the camera to an When you click the shutter, three film spool. This is where youll insertauthorized repair shop. Open the things happen. The lens closes down a film canister. Notice the prongs thatcamera back only when absolutely to the aperture youve selected. A protrude from the end of the spool.necessary (to change film), and close mirror between the lens and the shut- These must be fitted to matchingit again as quickly as possible. Pro- ter (which youll see a little later) lifts openings in the film canister. Noticetect the interior from dust and up out of the way. Then the shutter also that the entire spool slides up outmoisture. If youre shooting in dusty slides open, stays open for the dura- of the way when you pull the rewindor wet conditions, aim your back in- tion of the shutter speed youve knob. This provides just enoughto the wind and cover the camera as selected, and slides shut. space for you to slip in the canister.much as possible. In short, be Sound simple? In a sense it is, ex- You then push the knob back down,careful! cept that all this has to happen with fiddling with it, as needed, to slip the absolute precision in a fraction of a prongs into their respective openings. Tools 45
  • 43. • Film-Advance Sprocket Just to the right of the shutter screen there are two sets of sprockets (gears) on a reel. This is the next step in loading film. The small rectangular holes along the upper and lower edges of the film must be positioned over these sprockets. Each knob of the sprocket should slide easily into a hole in the film as they turn together. at the far right, just past the film- amount of light it is "seeing" advance sprocket. This is the take-up decreases and increases. Also like a reel. In most cameras, this reel is human eye, it focuses on some things simply a tube with slits in it. Your job and not on others. Unlike the human is to insert the end of the film in one eye, however, a camera lens requires of the slits and then wind the reel un- help to do these things. With most til the film catches and holds tight. cameras, that help must come from On some newer cameras, the take- you, the photographer. up reel is equipped with a special You expand and contract the open- mechanism to make it easier to insert ing of the lens by adjusting the aper- the film. Some even load the film ture ring. You use the focusing ring automatically. Once again, if you to select what is in and out of focus. have any questions, consult your The aperture and focusing rings are manual. used together to determine how much is in focus. By decreasing the aper- The Lens ture, you increase the depth of field. The lens is a cameras eye. Like a In other words, a smaller lens open-• Take-Up Reel human eye, its opening expands and ing means that more of your photo-The final step in loading film occurs contracts (opens and closes) as the graph will be in focus.46 The Photographic Eye
  • 44. through the lens. The main use of the numbers is to give you the option of guessing at the correct focal distance. This can come in very handy if you want to sneak a shot of someone without being noticed.• Aperture Ring • Depth of Field ScaleLets start with the ring that is usually Generally, there is another ring withclosest to the camera body and move the same numbers (usually smalleroutwards. On most cameras, this will and sometimes colored) right next tobe the aperture ring. the aperture ring. This one does not The aperture ring consists of a turn. It is the depth of field scale, andseries of numbers —4, 5.6, 8, 11, is there only to give information. Theetc.-that can be turned to line up scale tells you what range of distancewith a marker. The lowest number will be in focus at each f-stop. For • Lens Release & Mountwill probably be 1.8, 2.8, or 3.5, example, at f/16 everything from 7 Now that you know how the lensdepending on your lens. The highest to 30 feet away from you will be in works, lets take it off. On mostis likely to be 16 or 22. focus. At f/4, the depth of field is cameras, youll find a button Each of these numbers stands for much smaller: from 7 to about 9 feet. somewhere that you must press asan aperture or f-stop, a different size Basically, the depth of field scale you turn the lens (and some turn onelens opening. The lower numbers gives you the same information as the way, some the other). Absolutely,represent larger openings; the higher depth of field preview button. The positively, with no exceptions, do notnumbers represent smaller ones. difference is that one tells and the attempt to remove a lens from any On cameras with automatic meter- other shows you. camera until youre sure you knowing, youre likely to see an "A" or how. This goes double for trying tosome other symbol i n d i c a t i n g put the lens back on. (One of the best"automatic." If so, you may need to ways to ruin a camera, outside ofpress a button to release the ring so dropping it on concrete, is to forceyou can turn it. In this case, the ring a lens on the wrong way —and therelocks itself on automatic, so you are lots of wrong ways.) Alwaysdont accidentally bump it into check the manual first.manual mode (which can result in a Once you have studied the manuallot of ruined photos.) carefully, practice removing the lens and putting it back on again until you can do it quickly and effortlessly. • Focusing Ring Before you do, make sure you have If youve been checking out the depth everything correctly lined up, and of field scale, youve probably that you have a clean, safe place to already figured out the focusing ring. put the lens when you take it off. The focusing ring is marked with Finally, never leave a lens lying distances, virtually always in both around off the camera and out of its feet ("ft") and meters ("m"). You case, or a camera lying around with turn the ring to adjust the focus. no lens on it. Either way, youre just Normally, of course, you wont see asking for trouble. the numbers, since youll be looking Tools 47
  • 45. EXERCISE dial to get a sense of how the speedsTesting the Shutter & Aperture differ. Do the same thing with all the dif- ferent apertures with the shutter set at "B," so you can see the different sized openings. Now close the back of the camera and remove the lens. Set it aside where it will be safe. Look into the camera from the front. If you have an SLR (or Single-Lens Reflex) camera, you should see a mirror set at an angle. Above the mirror youll see the focusing screen. If you look very carefully, you may also be able to make out some of the other displays you saw in the viewfinder. The triangle on the cameras top is a prism that "bends" the image of the focusing screen around to the view- finder so you can see it. By now you should be familiar with Let the shutter close and then cock Aim the back of the camera all the components that have an ef- it again. Set your lens to its smallest toward a light source and look into fect on the shutter. Lets take a look aperture (the highest number). Look the mirror. You should be able to seeat them all in action. through again and press the shutter out through the viewfinder, though Set your shutter speed to "B" and release. most everything will be blurry.your lens to its largest aperture This time you should see a much With the shutter speed still set at(remember, thats the lowest smaller hole, with five or more sides. "B," cock the shutter. Press the shut-number). Make sure the film advance The hole gets its shape from overlap- ter release and notice how the mirrorlever has been wound, to cock the ping metal plates in the lens. The swings up out of sight. The black rec-shutter. Open your camera back. plates come closer together as the tangle you see at the back is the metalAim the lens at any convenient light aperture decreases, and they spread plate that holds the film in place. Letsource. While looking at the shutter f u r t h e r apart as the aperture go of the shutter release and youll seescreen, press the shutter release but- increases. that the mirror drops right back intoton and hold it down. Set the lens to its largest aperture place. Now try the same thing at your You should find yourself looking again. Cock the shutter and set the cameras fastest shutter speed.through a hole about the size of a shutter speed to 60. Click and watch That concludes the testing exer-quarter, through which youll be able again. Try the same thing at 125. Try cises. Now its time to do it all forto see whatevers in front of your it at 30. Can you tell them apart? real.lens . . . except everything will be up- Move up and down the shutter speedside down and probably out of focus.48 The Photographic Eye
  • 46. Loading FilmTo start, open a box of film andremove the canister from its plasticcase. Its a good idea to save the caseto protect the film once youve fin-ished shooting it. Its also a good ideato read over the instructions in thebox if this is the first time youve usedthis kind of film. Set the ISO as indicated on the filmbox or canister. (Always do this first,so you dont forget — and before youlose the box and hide the film insidethe camera.) Hold the camera securely in onehand, pin it between your knees orplace it on a flat, clean surface. Thelens should be pointing down and thetop of the camera aimed away fromyou. Open the back. The film spoolshould be pulled all the way up andout of the way. Place the film canisterinto the compartment on the left side,so the film runs straight out of thecanister across the shutter screen.Slide the film spool back down intoplace. Tuck the end of the film into a sliton the take-up reel. Click the shutterand advance the film until it beginsto stretch tightly across the shutterscreen area. Check to be sure thesprockets are correctly aligned withthe openings along the edges of thefilm. Click and wind once more totighten the film, holding it tight withone finger at the canisters opening ifnecessary. Close the camera back and checkto be sure it is securely locked. Clickand wind twice to advance to an un-exposed frame. Congratulations. Youre ready toshoot.
  • 47. Is a plastic hose interesting? It is if it is photographed well. Notice how composition and lighting can add impactto what could have been a very dull image. The hose is positioned slightly left of center, which accentuates itslooping curves. The shadow that nearly touches the upper right-hand corner promotes a sense of balance. The"negative space" between the hose and the frame of the photograph creates unusual and intriguing shapes. Whatelse makes this photograph "work"? (Student photograph by James Schmid.J50 The Photographic Eye
  • 48. chapter 3 What is Composition ? photograph is a rectangular Youll need a considerable amount of know what a snapshot is and what it frame with something in it. trial-and-error experience before you generally looks like: Aunt Molly sit- That, in essence, is all it is. can expect to reach this goal, but its ting by the pool, grinning at the Yet, within that simple definition, a good idea to keep it in mind from camera. A snapshot is a casual record there are countless possibilities. the very beginning. of some event or person or object. Before you can begin to achieve some A good photographer is like a When you look at a snapshot, the of those possibilities, you will need to master chef who mixes a certain main thing youre looking at is a learn how to make certain decisions number of ingredients (or elements) memory: "Oh, so thats what Auntwith precision and creativity. together in just the right proportions Molly used to look like." It doesnt First of all, youll need to decide to create a memorable dish (or com- matter if part of her head got cut offwhat to place within that rectangular position). In both cases, following or if shes slightly out of focus. All frame. Then youll need to decide recipes is a useful way to get started, that matters is that the picture is clearhow to place it. Should it fill the but soon youll want to be more enough to preserve some memories.whole frame or just a part of it? creative and try new things. A true A lot more matters in a trueShould it be placed toward the top or master breaks the rules a bit and photograph. A photograph is, orbottom of the frame, to one side, or creates something unique. Before the should be, an artistic interpretationin the center? Should the frame con- rules can be broken creatively, of an event or person or object. Itstain a single object or several? These however, they must be understood. purpose is to tell the viewer —anyquestions, and others like them, are Understanding is very different viewer —something about its subject.questions of composition. from memorizing. Youve memorized It should show not just what the sub- Composition is the arrangement of something when you can repeat it. ject is, but what it is like. And itvisual elements within the frame of Youve understood it when you can should do so with impact and style.a photograph. In photography as in apply it. To accomplish this, a photographchemistry, elements are basic units of You already know that composi- must be composed. All its elementscomposition which cannot be broken tion is the arrangement of elements must be selected and arranged todown into smaller parts. They are within the frame of a photograph. work together toward some unifiedcompositions raw materials. Now lets poke at the idea of com- effect. The most important elements in position to see if we can achieve a The main difference between aphotography are line, texture, shape, genuine understanding of it. snapshot and a photograph is the carelight, motion and perspective. In vir- with which each is produced. Takingtually all photographs, several of SNAPSHOTS vs. a snapshot involves little more thanthese elements combine to achieve a PHOTOGRAPHS pointing the camera in the right direc-specific e f f e c t . A photograph tion and clicking the shutter. Takingachieves greatness when every single Perhaps the best way to do this is to a photograph requires paying atten-element in it contributes to one consider the difference between a tion to every detail within the frame,overall effect, and none is wasted. "snapshot" and a "photograph." You and getting all of them just right, 51
  • 49. before the shutter is clicked. Thats what composition is basically all about: paying attention. No matter how interesting your subject may be, you have not really photographed it until you have placed it carefully within the frame, gotten rid of anything that distracts attention from it, made sure that all the various elements are working together, and set the camera to the correct aperture and shutter speed for the effect you want. In a broad sense, the subject of a photograph is far less important than its composition. Ab- solutely anything can be photo- graphed well —or poorly. This in itself is a valuable lesson. Once youve begun seeing with a photographers eye, youll discover that there are wonderful images allAttention to detail is the primary around you —far more than youdifference between a snapshot and could ever hope to capture on film.a photograph. In the snapshot Whether you continue to practice(right) the head and feet of the photography or not, the way youtaller girl are poorly cropped and look at the world around you willthe background is distracting. The probably be changed forever.girls expressions are stiff and un- Photography is an art of discovery.natural and the composition It is an exploration of the endlessdoesnt "do" anything. In the variety of line, texture, shape, light,photograph (above) the same two motion and perspective — a l l the fun-girls have been posed in a more in- damental elements of composition.teresting way. Their expressions Not many people have an oppor-convey a real mood, the back- tunity to learn to explore the worldground is less distracting, and the in this way. You have now becomecomposition is much stronger. one of the lucky few who do. EnjoySnapshot and photograph by Mike the exploration.Wiley. Before focusing in on each separate element, its important to develop a sense of how they all work together. So, though each element will have its turn, were beginning with the "big picture": composition. Weve already discussed what it is, and provided some clues as to why it is important. Now lets look at how it works.52 The Photographic Eye
  • 50. As an example of the fact that a photograph can be "about" absolutely anything, heres one that is pure structure. Notice how the three structural elements—position, line and shape —can make even the simplest image come alive. (Student photograph by Augustine Go.) texture, light, motion and per- spective—are added to complete the image, altering its appearance and effect. In a building, the design may re- quire a generally non-structural ele- ment, such as an interior wall, to become structural. In this case, some other part of the building, such as the floor above it, depends on that wall for support. If the wall were removed, the building would prob- ably collapse. Its the same with photography. Occasionally, texture or light (or any of the other elements that are gener- ally "non-structural") become so im- portant to the composition that it, too, would collapse if they were removed. In practical terms, this means that a photograph may, for example, be "about" texture, so much so that line and shape are irrelevant. This is,STRUCTURE, BALANCE, Structure however, an exception. By and large,DYNAMICS Structure in photography works in composition is determined by line, much the same way as it works in shape and position.These three things — s t r u c t u r e , architecture. The structural elements How do they do this? Primarily bybalance and dynamics —define the in a building are the posts and beams breaking the photograph up intocomposition of a photograph as a that hold it together. Non-structural smaller frames within the main one.whole. They provide a visual frame- elements are the walls, doors and Each of these smaller frames, whichwork, a context, within which the windows that determine how the well call zones, is in effect a picturevarious elements of the photograph building looks and what it is for. within a picture. Ideally, each zonefind their proper places. Without In a photograph, the basic struc- will produce some particular effectstructure, balance and dynamics, a tural elements are line, shape and on its own, as well as producing withphotograph would only be a jumble position (the placement of an object all the others one overall effect.of random objects. It would have lit- within a composition). These threetle impact and might not make much elements hold the photographsense. together. Non-structural elements — What is Composition? 53
  • 51. Weighting this photograph over to the left side is one element that makes it interesting. What other elements contribute to its impact? (Student photograph by Renee Adsitt.) • The Nine-Zone Grid each one in its own zone. Examine the composition grid However you decide to use each diagram. It contains nine zones. zone, its good to check all of them These zones are produced by dividing to be sure they are all doing the frame into thirds vertically (the something. If a zone is not adding to two gray lines) and horizontally (the the effect you want, it should be cor- two dotted lines). By thinking about rected or cropped out. Usually, cor- composition in terms of these zones, recting a zone involves nothing more you may find it easier to get a sense than shifting your angle, moving of how it works. around a bit or waiting patiently for Each zone need not produce a dif- the composition to change on its ferent effect in order to be doing its own. Waiting for —and catching — job. Most of the zones may be exactly just the right moment is especially im- alike, with only one or two doing portant when youre photographing something different. When that is the people. When youre photographing case, the zones that are different a small object, of course, you can stand out more clearly in contrast to always move it to improve the their surroundings: a lighted area in composition. a photograph that is mostly dark, for • Position example, or a figure standing in the If you examine the grid, youll see midst of blank space. that you have three choices for posi- Sometimes, on the other hand, tioning a subject vertically: top, theres so much happening in a center and bottom. You also have photograph that its hard to decide three choices horizontally: right, what to look at first. In this case, it center and left. This gives you a total helps tremendously to "anchor" the of nine choices ( 3 x 3 = 9). most important objects by placing Most photographs have a domi-54 The Photographic Eye J
  • 52. In this example of bottom- weighting, notice how the buildings seem to press down on the two cars at the focal point. Also notice how line is used to draw your eye to the focal point. How many lines point at the two cars? (Student photograph by Charles Chinas.) photograph will generally seem to press down on the subject. The feel- ing this may convey ranges from heavy and trapped to free and liberating, depending on how the other elements are employed. For ex- ample, if the upper part of the photo- graph is filled with massive, dark buildings, the feeling is likely to be heavy and oppressive. If, instead, the photo is dominated by clear sky, the feeling will be quite different. A photograph that is strongly center-weighted tends to look static, as if the subject is "frozen" in place. Placing a subject in the exact center of the frame is against the "official rules" of composition. It can, however, be very effective. Finally, strongly weighting a photograph to either side tends to suggest movement. If a subject faces the same side it is weighted toward, it will seem to be moving out of thenant subject: an object or person that of these directions —for example, the frame. This is especially true if it isattracts the most attention. Usually, upper right-hand corner. weighted toward a corner as well. Ifbut not always, the dominant subject If the subject of a photograph is the subject is facing the opposite side,is the largest object in the frame. strongly weighted toward the top of it will seem to be moving into theSometimes it is a relatively small ob- the frame, it will appear far away and frame. In most cases, moving into theject that is carefully placed to com- may, as you might expect, appear frame is preferable.mand the most attention. It may also top-heavy. Though this can be very In most of your photographs,be a cluster of several objects or effective, it produces an unusual and youll probably want to place thepeople. often disturbing effect. It should be main subject near where the lines Positioning the dominant subject used sparingly and only with good dividing the zones cross each other.of a photograph in a zone is called reason. In other words, you will usually wantweighting. A photograph may be A photograph that is strongly your subject to be a little off-center,weighted toward the top, bottom, weighted toward the bottom tends to slightly weighted toward the top, bot-center or to either side. It may also appear very firmly grounded. What- tom or one side. This produces abe weighted toward any combination ever is in the upper part of the more subtle effect. The subject will What is Composition? 55
  • 53. still seem to be interestingly distant,grounded, static or mobile, but nottoo much so. Later on, you will beencouraged to test the extremes. Eventhough you probably wont use themmuch, its good to understand the ef-fects they produce. This will allowyou to use them skillfully if and whenyou want one of those effects. One thing you may have noticed is that the "rules" of composition sound more like suggestions. That is entirely intentional. Some photographers employ these rules very strictly. Most, however, bend and break them as they please. You should feel abso- lutely free to do the same —once youve understood what the "rules" are, why they exist and how they work. After youve reached that point, they are indeed only sugges- tions, or guidelines. • Line Weighting is generally achieved by positioning. It is often reinforced with line. For example, if you decide to weight a photograph strongly by positioning the dominant subject near the top of the frame, the impres- sion of distance you create will be strengthened if lines starting in the foreground converge (get closer to- gether) as they get nearer to the sub-ject. One example is a photograph of a person walking along a sidewalk. The person will seem more distant if In this photograph, weighted toward the upper left-hand corner, the empty the receding lines of the sidewalk are space of the window contributes to the dreamy quality of the image. emphasized. Fortunately, you dont (Student photograph by Kristin McCauley.) have to do anything to the sidewalkto achieve this effect; the lines willconverge naturally as a result ofperspective. (Perspective will be ex-amined in greater detail later.) Allyou need to do is to keep your eyesopen for the effect when it may beuseful.56 The Photographic Eye
  • 54. How does line affect this centered, top-weighted photograph? Where do the perspective lines converge? Does that tell you what the photograph is about? What is the photograph about? (Student photograph by Kenneth Griggs.)How does this photographs composition fit on the 9-zone grid? How is itweighted? How do the shapes in it work together? (Student photograph.) What is Composition? 57
  • 55. FOCAL POINT: Composition TipsAs you continue to practice photog-raphy and begin discovering yourown style, youll also begin definingyour own approach to composition.The guidelines that follow will,however, help you get off to a goodstart. If you pay close attention tothese guidelines, many of the photo-graphs you produce now will lookpretty good even after you become amaster photographer. Get in close. The most common mistake made by beginning photog- raphers is staying too far away from the subject. Admittedly, a distant shot can sometimes be very effective. As a general rule, however, the closer you are to your subject, the more in- teresting your photograph will be. Why? Well, first of all, the larger the subject is within the frame, the more detail it will have. Detail tends to add interest. Making your primary subject large also helps the viewer understand that it is the primary sub-ject. (Its very frustrating to "wander around" in a photograph trying to figure out what the photographer Student photograph by Janice Pata. wanted you to look at first.) Finally, getting in close reduces the size of the exciting. ing closer or to one side, or by shif- negative space, making it more Get into the habit of scanning the ting your camera angle until every- interesting. edges of the frame —before you click thing that should be in is in and A good way to practice this tip is the shutter — t o see what the negative everything that should be out is out. to shoot a subject several times, mov- space looks like. If it doesnt excite Never let yourself mutter, "That ing in closer with each shot. See how you, change your position or camera thing just got in the way." Its up to close you can get and still produce an angle until it does. This will get you to get it out of the way. understandable image. You may be easier, even automatic, with practice. Watch your edges. While youresurprised. Edit your image. You dont score shooting, printing or critiquing a Pay attention to negative space. points as a photographer merely by photograph, look carefully at theKeeping negative space relatively being present for a photograph. You borders, especially the corners. Linessmall is half the battle, but not all of have to work at it. Anything within that cut through the corners, randomit. In addition, its important to ex- the frame that doesnt contribute to flecks of light or shadow and littleperiment with the placement of your the whole image doesnt belong in it. bits of confusing detail along thesubjects until you achieve an effect Edit it out. edges will draw the viewers eye awaythat is not merely interesting, but Once again, this is done by mov- from the point of interest.58 The Photographic Eye
  • 56. Keep verticals vertical and horizon-tals horizontal. Buildings that appearto lean or horizon lines that tilt arelikely to make your viewers nervousor queasy. Avoid them by holdingyour camera level, or correct the printby cropping. Receding lines in thebackground are rarely a problem, butbe sure the central image lookssteady, unless you have a good reasonto do otherwise. Place your subject in its environ-ment. As another general rule, it ishelpful to give the viewer some senseof the subjects surroundings. Thisdoes not mean, for example, that youneed to pull away to show the entireneighborhood where a person is stan-ding. A little bit of background detail Heres an excellent example of a highly structured photograph. Notice howmay be all thats needed to provide the lower hand forms a downward triangle with the two girls heads. Thea suitable context. Even clothing can hands of the girl on the right form a second triangle (pointing up). Whatprovide an environment for a per- lines emphasize the triangles? How does the sweater of the girl on the leftsons face. relate to the background pattern of the jungle-gym bars? How does the position of the girls relate to the vertical lines of the 9-zone grid? How do the bars relate to the horizontal lines? (Student photograph by Jun Hwang.) Line can also contribute to the quite accurately to the best placement structure of a photograph without be- of the most important lines in the ing directly involved in the position frame. For example, horizon lines are of its subject. The most common way generally most pleasing, and seem it does this is by literally dividing the most natural, when they are placed frame up in some kind of grid pat- very near one of the two horizontal tern. The grid produced by lines in a lines in the compositional grid. photo may or may not be the same Similarly, a key vertical line, such as as the compositional grid we have the edge of a wall, will generally work just been looking at. The lines may best when it is placed near either of make a different grid of their own. the two vertical lines of the grid. This In this case, the grid produced by the observation leads to another: in most lines is added to the basic composi- photographs that employ lines, the tional grid. The rules concerning the lines have merely weighted the pho- compositional grid, however, remain tograph in one or another direction, the same. depending on how they have been In fact, as you experiment with placed within the compositional grid. line, you will probably discover that In other words, lines work within the the compositional grid corresponds grid just as any other objects do. What is Composition? 59
  • 57. An unusual kind of balance is produced by composing a photograph so how it fits within the frame. Does itthat it "pulls" in opposite directions. This photograph is weighted toward do something interesting in relationboth the upper-right-hand and lower-left-hand corners. What effect does to the other objects and the frame?that have on its impact and mood? (Student photograph by Brian If not, you probably need to moveMacMillan.) the object or move your camera. • Shape of a photograph is surrounded by too Balance Shape affecls structure in two ways: much negative space, the overall ef- Balance is an equal relationship be- by where it is . . . and by where it fect may be weakened. In this case, tween two or more things. If youisnt. Though the idea may be hard the borders of the frame may be too place two objects on a balancingto grasp until we explore it further (in far away from the object to interact scale, they are balanced when boththe chapter on Shape), every object with it in an interesting way. sides of the scale are of the samein a photograph actually has two So, when you position a shape weight. Its no different in photog-shapes. The first shape is the obvious within the frame of a photograph, raphy. A photograph is balancedone: the space an object takes up you need to pay attention to two when the various elements "weigh"within the frame, known as positive things: the same. This does not mean thatspace. The second is less obvious: the First, is the shape itself interesting? they must take up the same amountspace that surrounds an object. This If not, you can usually improve upon of room. What it does mean is a goodsecond shape is called negative space. it by either altering the shape (asking deal more complex.Because careful composition is re- a model to change position, for ex- Lets say you are taking aquired to make negative space in- ample) or by changing the angle from photograph of a tree. You canteresting, it is one of the main dif- which you are photographing it. It is balance the photograph in severalferences between photographs and not enough simply to find an in- ways, depending on the trees sur-snapshots. teresting subject; anyone who takes roundings and on the effect you Negative space is defined by a snapshot does that. The photog- want. If the tree stands alone againstborders —the borders of an object raphers job is to make an interesting a blank sky, youll probably want itand the borders of the photographs photograph of an interesting subject, to nearly fill the frame-in whichframe. The closer those borders are which is quite a different thing. case the negative space will interactto each other, the more effective the The second point you need to think well with the frame. In this case, thenegative space will be. If the subject about when you position a shape is photograph has a single subject: the60 The Photographic Eye
  • 58. tree. tree is small and weighted toward the If the sky is interesting, you may bottom, what happens? First, the treechoose to weight the tree toward the itself loses interest simply because itbottom of the frame. In this case, is small. Second, the sky loses interestthere are actually two subjects in the because it is too big to create muchphotograph: the tree and the sky. If negative space. Theres so much neg-the ground under the tree is interest- ative space that the eye gets lost in, you might weight the tree toward This effect, which is almost alwaysthe top of the frame. Again, you have undesirable, is called dead space.two main subjects: the tree and the Space that doesnt do anything isground. dead. If there is a person standing off to The photograph weve just de-the right side of the tree and if the sky scribed is uninteresting because itsbehind is interesting, you might subject is not balanced with theweight the tree to the lower left of the negative space. Make the tree larger frame. You now have three subjects: and move it further up into thethe tree, the sky and the person. frame, and the photo begins to In all these examples, you achieve generate interest.balance by making sure that the sub-ject or subjects are placed in an in- Dynamicsteresting relationship to each other Dynamics are about movement,and to the frame of the photograph. specifically the movement of aEach should take up exactly the right viewers eye as it explores a photo-amount of room it needs to achieve graph. When you look at a photo-this relationship. graph, your eye naturally moves from To make things clearer, lets see one object within the frame towhat happens when a photograph is another. Ideally, that movementunbalanced. Go back to the photo- begins with the most important ob-graph of the tree isolated against a ject, the primary subject, and thenblank sky. If you photograph it so the proceeds to less important ones, What is Composition? 61
  • 59. Two kinds of dynamics are atwork in this photograph. First, theviewers eye naturally follows theeyes of the subject, to see whathes looking at (which, in this case,is beyond the frame). Second, thecurved lines of the subjects jacketcollar and hair create a sort of"funnel" that reinforces thedynamic flow. (Student photographbyJeffFrye.)secondary subjects. Finally, it comes full circle back to the primary subjectagain. In a poorly composed photograph, on the other hand, one of several things can happen to the dynamics. The viewers eye may get stuck on one of the secondary subjects, which weakens the impact of the primary one. It may get distracted by some- thing that wasnt supposed to be a subject at all (such as an annoying white space near one corner), in which case it may not really "see" the photo at all. Or it may find so many secondary subjects competing for at-tention that it just bounces aroundthe frame until it gets tired and looksaway. Part of your job as a photographer is to arrange the objects in a photo-graph so the eye naturally moves around it in a way that strengthensthe photographs impact. Generally, terest by directing the eye around thethis means that the objects are ar- photograph.ranged so the eye first notices the Dynamics can be enhancedprimary subject, then begins to ex- through the use of lines. Actual lines,plore how it relates to the secondary as in the sidewalk mentioned above,subjects, and finally comes back to may connect two or more subjects.the primary subject before going This creates a sort of road map of thearound one more time. The more photograph. The eye finds its wayinteresting these relationships are, the around by following the lines.more often the viewers eye will Implied lines can achieve the samerepeaX its path around the photo- effect. If, for example, a person in agraph. This is what dynamics are all photograph is looking at another sub-about —generating and holding in- ject in it, the viewers eye will nat-62 The Photographic Eye
  • 60. At its best, the dynamics of a photograph bind all of the various elements together. Notice how the tuft of grass beneath the subject rises to the scarf, which then runs straight up to the face. The line continues, through the subjects hair, around the face and (back to the scarf again) spills over the subjects left shoulder. The similarity between the tuft of grass and the subjects bangs is a nice added touch. (Student photograph by Indira Suganda.) Take a few moments to test the theory of dynamics weve just out- lined. Look at any photograph in this book and pay careful attention to how your eye moves about within the frame. Try this with several photo- graphs. Which ones are most dy- namic? Which hold your interest longest? Which contain distracting elements that interfere with the dynamics? While they may work alone, bal- ance and dynamics often work together. A photograph conveys static balance when its subjects are of equal weight and appear immobile, "frozen." Static balance is essentially balance without strong dynamics. In a statically balanced photograph, the viewers eye tends to take in every-urally look to see what that other sub- thing all at once, without movingject is. There is an implied line around the frame. This can be effec-between the persons eye and the sub- tive if the subject and composition soject it is looking at. Similarly, many interesting that they hold the viewersobjects can, in effect, point at others. interest on their own. Portraits ofA fence, for example can point at a people with especially interestingtree, even if the fence doesnt actually faces or expressions often employtouch the tree. The viewers eye will static balance.naturally tend to follow the line of A photograph achieves dynamicthe fence. When the fence ends, the balance when its subjects are posi-eye will keep on going until it reaches tioned to encourage the eye to movethe tree. This is another implied line, around within the frame.and another example of dynamics. What is Composition? 63
  • 61. EXERCISEMat FrameTurn to the back of the book andlocate the "Mat Template." Trace thetemplate onto sturdy paper and dry-mount it onto a piece of dark matboard. (See Appendix for instruc-tions on mounting.) Then carefullycut through both the mat and thetemplate along the dotted lines. Forbest results, use a sharp knife (such as an X-acto) and a metal straight-edge. You have now constructed a mat frame with roughly the same propor- tions as your cameras viewfinder. Hold the frame an arms length away, with the dark side toward you, and look through it. Wherever you hap- pen to look, youll have some kind of Student photograph by Han June composition within the frame. Eval- Bae. uate it. Is the composition inter- esting? Is it well-balanced? What This exercise is, in a sense, a kind of dynamics does it have? photographers "warm-up" exercise. Next, shift the frame to either side, Its purpose is to loosen up your up or down, and observe how that photographic "muscles" before you changes the composition. Move it actually go out to shoot photographs. closer to you to fit more into it, or By exercising with just a frame, you further away to crop more out of it. may find that you notice things that Rotate the frame so it goes from you might miss with all the complica- horizontal to vertical and back again. tions of a real camera. This is likelyTry as many adjustments as you can to be true whether youve already think of until youve made the best used a camera for years, or are just composition you can. Then turn getting started. Its a good exercise to around and try the same process in come back to at regular intervals, just another direction. Select an object to "freshen up" your eye— so keep the near you and experiment with it. template handy and use it often. How many interesting compositionscan you produce with a single object?Can you make an interesting com-position out of absolutely anything,or do only certain kinds of thingswork well?64 The Photographic Eye
  • 62. EXERCISECroppingThis exercise begins much like theprevious one. First, locate the "Crop-ping Ls" template at the back of thisbook. Trace it, dry-mount it ontomat board and cut out the Ls. (Theyare called Ls because theyre shapedlike Ls.) Place the Ls on top of the photo-graph on this page. See if you canfind a better or at least different com-position within that photograph byadjusting the Ls. Try cropping in on one smalldetail. Try trimming out any un-necessary details or background. Tryshifting the balance to one side, upor down. See how many good photo-graphs you can find in this one. Then turn to any other photographin the book (the larger the better) andtry the same t h i n g . Continueexperimenting with a variety ofphotographs. Try working with a partner, takingturns cropping the same photograph. Is there only one good compositionwithin each photograph? Is there onebest composition in each? Doeseveryone tend to agree on which isbest? Keep your cropping Ls handy, anduse them often to evaluate composi-tions. Try using them during critiquesessions (see the next section) to showthe class how you would crop a pho-tograph differently. Locate or obtainsome magazines with a lot of largephotographs (Life, National Geo-graphic, Smithsonian, fashionmagazines, etc.) and see how manyof the photographs you can improve Student photograph by Frankby cropping. Hal!. What is Composition? 65
  • 63. Student photograph by Jay Le Claire.66 The Photographic Eye
  • 64. chapter 4 Developing a Critical Eye efore you begin doing Though a crit session does usually in- a photograph, will start by saying something, it is generally volve ranking the photographs, its whether they like it or not. People helpful to establish some primary purpose is group analysis. tend to like a photograph when theygoals. If you have some idea of where There are three basic questions to like whats in it, and to dislike ayoure headed —or where you should ask yourself about each photograph photograph when they dont likebe headed —youre likely to arrive you critique: What is good about it? whats in it. And many will stopmore quickly. Youll also be able What is not good? How could it be measure your progress more better? The primary goal is to train Your first goal, as a photographer,accurately. your eye —to learn to see clearly as a is to move beyond your own likes and The best way to start setting your photographer, when looking at dislikes; to identify the technical, ob-own photographic goals is to critique others photographs and when taking jective factors that define a photo-the work of other photographers. your own. graph and to evaluate them. TheOnce you begin begin producing your Youll probably find that its a bit essential distinction here is betweenown photographs, youll progress less threatening to critique someone style and standards.more rapidly if you let others critique elses work, rather than your own. Style is largely a personal matter.your work as well. When a photo- You wont be so close to it and, In time, every photographer developsgraph is critiqued, all the various therefore, will be able to spot its an individual style, a unique way ofelements of it —good, bad or indif- strengths and weaknesses more objec- seeing things and expressing them —ferent—are evaluated. Critiquing is tively. This is one benefit of a group just as a singer or a writer developsno! the same as criticizing, which only crit. Another benefit is that you can an individual "voice." This does notinvolves pointing out flaws. In a true learn from each others comments. mean that all of that photographerscritique, positive and negative com- work will look the same —far fromments are balanced. This is an essen- EVALUATING A PRINT it — b u t there will be certain stylistictial skill that every photographer themes that connect all the images inmust develop. Take a look at the photograph to the that photographers portfolio. left which we will use as an "exam- Similarly, each photograph has aCRITIQUE SESSIONS ple photograph" for the next few style of its own, a mood or an inter- pages. Like most of the photographs pretation of the subject. In the bestThe critique session — o r "crit," as it in this book, it was taken by a stu- photographs, that style is con-is popularly called — i s one of the dent. Ask yourself the three questions sistent — everything in the photographmost valuable tools for developing mentioned above: Whats good about contributes to the overall impact. Theskill as a photographer. In simple it? Whats not good? What could be result is a single clear image, ratherterms, a crit involves a group of peo- better? than a collection of random details.ple looking carefully at a selection of As you ask these questions, a Liking or disliking that style is aphotographs, such as those you will fourth one may come to mind: Where matter of opinion — a subjective judg-be producing for the exercises in this do you start? ment. It has very little to do withbook, and analyzing or judging them. Most people, when asked to judge whether the photograph is skillfully 67
  • 65. produced. Skill is the key ingredientof standards, and standards can bejudged objectively. They are, by andlarge, matters of fact, not opinion. The place to start in your critiqueis to determine the facts about aphoto. Once youve done this, youhave a good basis for determiningyour opinions about it. Four basic factors determine aphotographs standards: value,clarity, composition and presenta-tion. Ideally, a photograph will scorewell on each of these factors, but one or another factor may be so well rep- resented—or the image so striking — that the photograph will be successful as a whole even if one (or more) of the other factors is lacking.ValueValue, in a photograph, concernslight —not price. Specifically, it refersto the range of light in the photo-graph: from black through shades ofgray to white. As a general rule, the more con-trast a photograph has — or the widerthe range between its darkest andlightest elements —the greater itsvisual impact will be. (As with anyrules, there are exceptions; a photo- A photograph of normal value contains black blacks, white whites and agraph that is all grays, with no whites variety of grays. (Student photograph.)or blacks, can be very effective. But,in general, its good to aim forcontrast.) between good and bad grays. The about contrast. There is not much If, however, everything in a photo- former are consistent and clear; the range between the photographsgraph is either black or white, with latter are best described as "muddy." lightest and darkest elements, yet theno grays, it may have a lot of impact, Muddy grays may result from under- mans face is so expressive that thebut will generally lack interest. Once exposing when shooting, under- photograph works. If you lookthe eye has taken in the bold image, developing the film, using an incor- closely, youll also notice that the onethere is not much reason to keep rect paper grade, over-exposing the area with good contrast is the eyes —looking. So, in addition to a good print or removing it from the and the eyes are what grab your at-balance of black and white, its developer too soon. tention when you look at the photo-desirable to have a range of grays to Take another look at the "example graph. So, while value in the overalldefine shapes and provide shading. photograph." Evaluate its values. image is limited, it is strong at the When evaluating a photographs Youll probably notice right away most critical point —the eyes. In fact,value, its important to distinguish that this is an exception to the rule it is largely because the rest of the68 The Photographic Eye
  • 66. A high contrast photograph contains predominantly blacks and whites, with few grays in between. (Student photograph by Jon Port is.) image is so subdued that the eyes are so penetrating. Improving Value When you have determined that the value of a photograph is weak, the next question is: How could it be better? Assuming the subject was reason- ably contrasty to begin with, there are many possible causes for poor value. The most common is incorrect expo- sure when taking the photograph. Too little light will result in a dark, "muddy" print. Too much will causeStudent photograph. highlights (white areas) to be "washed-out" or "burned out"—so white that no details are visible in them. (The upper corners of the "ex- ample photograph" are an example of this —though, again, the image works despite this flaw.) How the film is processed will also affect its values. The longer the film stays in the developer, the more con- trasty it gets. Gray areas continue developing, getting blacker and blacker on the negative and, there- fore, lighter and lighter on the print. If the film is removed from the devel- oper too soon, its contrast will be low; the resulting prints will be weak and gray. Special chemicals are avail- able with which you can re-develop film to increase or reduce the contrast. Additionally, the kind of paper used to make the print has con-A low-contrast or "monotone" photograph has a very narrow range of siderable effect on its contrast. Papervalue. And notice how this one is dominated by mid-range grays and grades, which range from low to highcontains virtually no white or black. (Student photograph by Charles contrast (generally numbered 1Stuart Kennedy HI.) through 5) allow considerable oppor- Developing a Critical Eye 69
  • 67. Another "rule breaker"—this timewithout any real whiles and fewblacks. Notice how the grays arecrisp and varied—not muddy.(Student photograph by MicheleDearing.)tunity to adjust the contrast up ordown when making a print. Other causes include paper that isaccidentally exposed to the light, ex-hausted chemicals and improperdeveloping of the print. Even slightamounts of light leaking into adarkroom can "fog" the paper,resulting in an overall gray tone.Chemicals that have been over-usedor left out too long can become ex-hausted (or weak), resulting in un-predictable results. Too much or toolittle exposure of the paper under theenlarger and too long or too short adeveloping time will also distort thevalues of the final print. In all thesecases, careful and consistent dark- room habits are the cure. ClarityThe second key factor is clarity. The primary key to clarity is focus —notjust whether or not the photograph is in focus, but whether it is correctly focused. There is a difference. In a correctly focused photograph,a subject may be either sharp or soft. will be sharp, leaving others in softer Then look at what is not in focus.With sharp focus, all edges are very focus so they are less distracting. This Why is it not?clearly defined. With soft focus, the helps direct the viewers eye to the Soft focus throughout a photo-edges blur a bit. When something is focal point of the photograph, and it graph may be effective, especially inout of focus, the edges blur more also makes your photograph more portraits (to obscure blemishes orthan they should. Heres another case closely resemble normal sight. (Test enhance the mood) or in landscapesin which personal style varies con- this yourself: look at an object close (to achieve a dreamy effect). Specialsiderably. For some photographers, to you and notice how the back- filters are available for this purpose,any blurring at all is unacceptable; ground goes out of focus.) which work better than shooting outothers deliberately shoot with ex- So, the questions to ask are: of focus.tremely soft focus to achieve a par- Whats in focus? What should be in In addition to appropriate focus,ticular effect. focus? Generally it is the center of clarity depends on an appropriate Often, the best way to treat an im- interest-what the photograph is shutter speed and an appropriateage is to choose some elements that about —that should be in focus. degree of contrast between the sub-70 The Photographic Eye
  • 68. "What to leave in, what to leaveout . . . " is the critical decisionregarding focus. Notice that thehelicopter in the background is justclear enough to be recognizable. This helps to keep our attentionfocused on the man in theforeground. (Student photograph by Trevor Bredenkamp.)ject and background. If the shutterspeed is too slow, the subject will beblurred —either because it moved orbecause the photographer did. Blurscan be effective . . . if they are doneon purpose. If the shutter speed is toofast, it may reduce the photographsimpact. For example, a race car thatshould look like its zipping past mayinstead look like its standing still. The relation between the subject and background in a photograph hassomething to do with light and value,with line and with composition.Common mistakes include photo-graphing a dark subject against adark background (causing the subjectto vanish mysteriously), composing aphotograph so trees are growing outof the subjects head, and placing acomplex subject in front of a complexbackground (causing another vanish-ing act). Returning to the "example photo-graph," the lines on the face, themouth and, especially, the eyes arequite sharp. This reinforces their im-pact. The fur hood, zipper and but-ton of the jacket are softer. They areclear enough to provide a context, orsetting, for the face, but not so sharpas to compete with it for the viewersattention. The nose is also a little Selective focus works again in this photo, in which the crowd is reducedsoft, adding depth to the face. The to a suggestive blur—keeping our eyes on the quarterback. (Studentshutter speed was fast enough to pre- photograph by Jerry Wisler.)vent any blurring, and the whitebackground (what there is of it) setsthe whole figure off nicely. Developing a Critical Eye 71
  • 69. Placing everything in sharp focushelps to accentuate shapes andpatterns, as well as giving theviewers eye "permission" to wanderabout the composition. (Studentphotograph by Lena Aiken.)Occasionally — very occasionally — apoorly focused photograph canwork just fine . . . even better thanif it were focused "correctly."Notice how the soft focus on thiswoman affects the photographsmood and meaning. What does thephotograph seem to be about? What feelings does it convey toyou? (Student photograph byJonathan Serenius.)72 The Photographic Eye
  • 70. Wide depth of field can provide the viewers eye with plenty of entertainment after a photographs initial impact (in this case, the visual joke of the balloon) has worn off. How does this photograph make use of the 9-zone grid? Of weighting? Of value? (Student photograph by David Chmielewski.) always be in focus . . . but it may not be in the frame of the camera. The trick is to focus more carefully as you use larger apertures. After focusing, do not move forward or backward. When the subject is relatively close and the depth of field is very shallow, this can be crucial. (Depth of field will be covered in Chapter 9.) A third cause of poor clarity con- cerns the other half of the shutter- aperture equation: As the shutter speed decreases, the chances of blur- ring a picture increase. This may be caused by a subject that moves, or by "camera shake," particularly in low- light situations. You have little control over the movement of a subject (other than asking it to sit still), but you can con- trol camera shake. Try pressing the camera tight against your forehead and cheekbone, holding your breath while you shoot, or bracing yourself against a wall — o r all three at once. Another good technique is to prop your elbows on a solid surface or, in a pinch, on your knees.Improving Clarity photographer can make up for this You will soon learn how slow aThere are, again, a number of causes lack of light in two ways (assuming shutter speed you can safely use,for poor clarity. Focus is the most no flash is being used). The shutter which (as well discuss in Chapter 10)common problem. It is generally speed can be decreased, or the aper- will vary according to the length ofcaused by a failure to set the correct ture can be increased. As the aperture the lens youre using. Fordistance on the focusing ring. A less is increased — as the lens opening gets photographs that require a lowerobvious, and slightly less common, larger — t h e depth of field, or range speed, use a tripod (see Appendix 4).cause is using too large an aperture. of distance that will be in focus at any In addition, a print may be fuzzy As the available light decreases, a time, decreases. Something will because the enlarger was incorrectly Developing a Critical Eye 73
  • 71. focused. Use a focusing aid (see Ap-pendix 1) to correct this. If the prob-lem persists, have your eyes and yourlens checked. Your eyesight may bepoor or your lens may be either faultyor dirty.PresentationThe third factor to look for is the careand skill with which the final printhas been produced. In addition to thecontrast and focus already men-tioned, one telltale indication of aprints quality (and, therefore, of thephotographers commitment to stan-dards) is how clean it is. Look forwhite flecks, variously known assatellites, glitches, scuzz, hickies or Where is the point of interest in this photograph? Is it cropped effectively? Isglop — s t u f f on the negative that there wasted space in it? What would happen to the mood and impact of theshouldnt be there. Other categories photograph if it were cropped more tightly? Student photograph.include fingerprints on the negativeor print (keep your fingers out of thechemicals!), scratches, and dark • Point of Interest and simple. The frame should narrowcircles caused by poor agitation when First and foremost, is there a point in on whats important, leaving outdeveloping the film. In general, of interest? Does it stand out or is it unnecessary details.following instructions carefully, us- lost in the surrounding confusion? What about the overall balance ofing anti-static brushes and other With rare exceptions (and there are the composition? Is it top-heavy, lop-cleaning tools and keeping the always exceptions), a photograph sided, boring? A composition may bedarkroom as dust-free as possible will should have one clear point of balanced in two ways: static ordo the trick. It is possible to produce interest —a single dominant element. dynamic.flawless prints, though at first it may Generally, the point of interest Static balance just sits there, butnot seem to be. should be near the middle of the that can be quite effective. The most Other aspects of presentation to frame, though not usually right at the common way of achieving static bal-look for include neatly trimmed edges center. ance is to weight the composition, or(use a good sharp cutter), squared • Cropping concentrate its point of interest, nearcorners and proper adhesion to the Once youve identified the structure the center.mat board. of the photograph, consider its crop- Dynamic balance suggests move- ping, or the way it is framed. Is it ment. Generally, this is achieved byComposition "tight" — i s the frame filled with im- weighting the composition away fromYou already know something about portant elements, or is there wasted the center, toward one side or thecomposition. Of the four basic fac- space? Blank areas, or negative other, or toward the corners.tors of "standards," it is the trickiest space, can enhance a photographs • Linesto define, because it is the closest to impact, but should interact with the Lines and curves within a composi-"style." There are, however, a num- central image in some way or the tion often have a tremendous effectber of aspects of composition that photograph will instead have less on its impact. Sometimes this will beyou can evaluate objectively. Well impact. obvious, as in a photograph with areview them quickly to refresh your As a general rule, it is good to keep crisscross pattern in the background.memory. the "idea" of the photograph "clean" Often, however, youll need to look74 The Photographic Eye
  • 72. more closely to locate the straight andcurved lines. Even a single line can "pull" or"point," drawing the viewers eyetoward or away from the point of in-terest, increasing or reducing thephotographs drama. Examine the lines of the "examplephotograph." Look for curves: thehood, the lines on the mans face, thecircles under his eyes, the button, theslope of the right shoulder. All theseadd to the visual impact of the com-position, creating a complex patternwhich, in turn, creates an appealing"visual tension" in contrast to theeyes. In addition, the curves of thezipper help to anchor the composi-tion, giving it a base and opening upinto the face.Aesthetics Finally, we come to "style" — t h a t elusive something that makes the dif- ference between a skillful photograph and genuine art. Often, a photographwill have all the right elements but still not work. Sometimes, however, a photograph will lack many critically important elements, yet work very well. And, of course, all the right elements may combine to achieve aneffect that is greater than the sum ofits parts. Something special happens,a certain spark ignites, and the resultis . . . magic. Its difficult to pinpoint whatmakes this difference, but it is How does the presentation of this photograph (using lith film to produce aprecisely what all photographers high-contrast print) affect its impact? Do you think it probably improves thestrive to achieve. As you progress, photograph? Is the presentation appropriate? Student photograph byyoull become increasingly aware of Christopher Moiles.which photographs have that some-thing, and which dont, and why. graphs, and to train your eye toAnd youll begin to make it happen recognize the great ones when theyin your own photographs. A very come along. Eventually, they will.good way to start, probably the onlyway, is to master the techniques ofproducing consistently good photo- Developing a Critical Eye 75
  • 73. EXERCISESample CritDescribe the dynamics of this photograph. What elements contribute to them? Assess the value of the photograph.The composition (9-zone grid anyone?). How does it make you feel? What sort of person do you suppose thesubject is? What sort of person do you suppose the photographer is? (Student photograph by Alison Sheehy.)Now its your turn. Evaluate each of questions, try to determine why each Take some notes as you evaluatethe photographs on the following element of the photograph does or each photograph. Jot down what youpages, applying the criteria weve doesnt work. Ask yourself how you like about each photograph and whatdiscussed in this chapter: value, might improve each element. Would you think could be improved: "Goodclarity and composition. (Presenta- the photograph be equally or more value range and mood; negative spacetion is a bit hard to apply to photo- effective if it were shot from a dif- could be enhanced by cropping ingraphs in a book.) Notice the use of ferent angle? What changes in closer to face"; etc. Discuss yournegative space in each photograph. lighting might increase the photo- observations to see how others res-Can the cropping be improved? Is the graphs impact? In some cases youre pond to the same photographs. Keepprimary subject well placed on the likely to see a number of possible your notes on file and check themnine-zone grid? Is the photograph alternatives or improvements. In again in a few months to see if yourwell balanced? How about its others you may decide that the perceptions change.dynamics? Does it work? photograph is close to an ideal treat- As you explore these and other ment of its subject.76 The Photographic Eye
  • 74. How does this photograph fit on the 9-zone grid? How would you rate its value? What about the cropping (i.ethe missing head)? Is it annoying? What, if anything, does the photograph say to you? What sort of person doyou suppose the subject is? (Student photograph by Jeff Frye.) Developing a Critical Eye 77
  • 75. The value of this photograph is restricted to black and a very narrow range of grays. Is it appropriate andeffective? How is the composition structured? Do you suppose the starfish was found where it is or placed thereby the photographer? Does it matter to you? What elements do you consider most important in it? How does thephotograph make you feel? What thoughts or memories does it provoke? (Student photograph by Amy ChristineZorovich.)78 The Photographic Eye
  • 76. Does this photograph have any composition? (Look carefully and remember the grid.) What do you think of it?How about its values? Its focus? What, if anything, is it about? (Student photograph by Jon Portis.) Developing a Critical Eye 79
  • 77. How would you evaluate this photograph? (Student photograph.)80 The Photographic Eye
  • 78. How would you evaluate this one? (Student photograph by Chong Street.) Developing a Critical Eye 81
  • 79. Used correctly, the "point of departure" setting will produce consistently good results in bright sunlight. (Studentphotograph.)82 The Photographic Eye
  • 80. chapter 5 Point of Departure (f/16 at 1/125) ov that you are familiar with ing how to "see" with a camera. In reason is that your light meter is notN your camera, and have begun to evaluate composi- addition, starting with this setting will help you learn how the camera always accurate. Light meters assume you want the average value in yourtion, its time to start putting your works. This, in turn, will provide a photograph to be gray. Usually youknowledge to work — b y actually tak- basis for all your future photog- do. But when you dont, or whening some photographs. In order to raphy. Once youve had some ex- unusual lighting conditions "confuse"help you begin taking good photo- perience with the standard setting, the light meter, then its vital that yougraphs immediately, technical con- youll be able to make informed deci- know how to work without it.cerns will initially be kept to a sions about how to handle a variety When you start shooting your firstminimum. At first, you will be doing of other lighting situations. assignments, you will need to pay at-little more than aiming your camera, You will be using black-and-white tention to only one technical concern:focusing and shooting. As you pro- film with an ISO of 125, such as make sure your subject is well lit.ceed through the various exercises, Kodaks Plus-X. Your shutter will be This means that you will need tohowever, you will gradually add on set at 1/125 of a second, fast enough shoot outdoors in sunny weather. Anew techniques, learning new ways to to "freeze" most action. Your aper- day with some clouds is okay, but aexpress your own vision. By the time ture will be small — f / 1 6 —so almost heavily overcast or rainy day is reach the end of this book, you everything will be in focus. After It also means that you will generallywill have a solid foundation of skill loading the film, youll adjust your want the sun to be behind you —soand the beginnings of a personal camera controls to these settings — it is shining on your subject, not instyle. Later, as you continue to pro- and leave them there. your lens.gress on your own, youll be able to You may find yourself tempted to So long as your subject is well lit,push your skill and style to the limit. change the settings if your light meter and you stick to f/16 at 125, you willBut for now, well stick to the basics. disagrees with them. (After all, thats produce correctly exposed photo- what the light meter is for, right?) graphs. Thats a promise. Try it.STARTING SIMPLY But for now, just pretend the light meter isnt there. DOING IT RIGHTYour first assignments will be based There are several good reasons noton a "point of departure" that will to rely on your light meter at the The need for good light brings upenable you to produce technically beginning. First, if you learn to shoot another important point: Dont waitsuccessful photographs without get- without it, youll be better equipped till the last minute. For each of yourting bogged down in details. You will to do so when necessary —such as assignments, take the time to locatebe using a standard aperture and when your batteries die on you, 100 interesting subjects and to shoot themshutter-speed setting: f/16 at 1/125 miles from the nearest camera shop. well. Keep an eye on the weather, andof a second. (Many cameras can be used manually be ready to make use of it when its By using one standard setting, without batteries, though some good. (Bear in mind that overcastyoull be able to concentrate on learn- modern ones cannot.) A second good skies, rain and snow can be "good," 83
  • 81. Student photograph by LindaRaymond.once youve learned how to usethem.) Do some exploring before youstart shooting. Dont just step intoyour back yard and grab a few quickshots. Sometimes you will find agreat subject there, but even so, giveyourself enough time to really see it. Every time you photograph a sub-ject, try to take several shots of itfrom several completely differentangles. Use your camera to explorethe subject, to learn about it, todiscover how it interacts with otherobjects, with light, with space. Neverallow yourself to take just one shot and call it quits. Who knows what you might have missed? Though it is important to reserve time to devote to your photography assignments, try to keep them in mind at other times as well. When youre out walking, shopping in town, travelling —anytime youre do- ing anything —keep your eyes open for photographic possibilities. Even if you dont have a camera with you, or never go back to make use of those possibilities, its good practice to look for them. Photography is essentially a way of seeing, a way of sorting through all the images that rush past around in search of something to of its theme. Its easy to get so caught you every day and noticing the special photograph. up in a subject that you forget to look ones. The more you train yourself to Great shots are very rarely quick for line or texture or whatever else the see in this way, the better youll do and easy. Usually, they require pa- assignment is supposed to be about. when you set out to capture some of tience and imagination. The more While such enthusiasm is commend- those special images on film. time you devote to each assignment, able, it is important to stick to the On a more practical level, youll the more you will learn — and the bet- themes of the assignments, and to find that you enjoy your assignments ter your results will be. Theres a seek out subjects that are specifically more if youve already compiled a special sense of accomplishment that appropriate to them. Once youve mental list of interesting places to ex- only comes from working slowly, done that, you can always take a lit-plore with your camera. You may carefully and creatively. Making that tle more time to just shoot whatevereven want to write that list down, so your goal, from the very beginning, interests you.youll have a ready source of inspira- is well worth the effort.tion when you need it. If you do, you Finally, as youre shooting eachwont waste time later wandering assignment, keep reminding yourself84 The Photographic Eye
  • 82. Student photograph by JonGinsberg.Student photograph by KennethGriggs. Point of Departure 85
  • 83. There are three basic line effects in this photograph. What are they? (Student photograph by Wendy OConnel.)86 The Photographic Eye
  • 84. chapter 6 Line he "point of departure"T camera setting (f/16 at 125 of a second) provides an un-complicated introduction to themechanics of photography. Wellnow do the same thing with composi-tion. The first subject in photo-graphic theory is, quite simply,line.PATTERN, STRUCTURE,DIRECTION You may recall that in geometry a line is a one-dimensional series of points. Several lines are required to define a three-dimensional shape. You could say that a line is an edge, a border between one thing and another. It can also be the connection between two things, like a clotheslinetied between two trees. Straight, How do your eyes react to this highly linear shot? Does it hold theircurved, bent or zig-zagged, it goes interest? If so, why? (Student photograph by Jean Ann Hall.) from one place to another. Understanding lines is one of the Line is not passive. Instead, it is a Line may be a subject in itself (asprimary requirements of photog- strong visual force that pulls the it will be in your first assignment), orraphy. Virtually every photograph, viewers eye around in a picture. Used it can play a supporting role forof course, has lines in it. Some of well, it suggests movement, conveys another subject. Lines may be con-these lines do more than merely impact and helps to focus attention nected in a larger pattern or isolateddivide or connect objects. They may on the key points of the composition. from each other, evenly distributedalso suggest moods and rhythm, Used poorly, it distracts attention and across the frame in an orderly man-create patterns, indicate directions weakens the compositions effect. It ner, or scattered at random. A photo-and structure. The various qualities may be simple, but is also powerful. graph may be dominated by just oneof the lines in a photograph combine It is a bit like electricity. And like line or packed with many. A line needto produce an overall impression, electricity, it must be controlled to be not be "real" to have its effect. Ob-called line. useful. jects of the same height (such as a Line 87
  • 85. lull I ill 11J 111 ll II Hill 111 Illll 111How many basic line effects are inthis photograph? (Studentphotograph by Robert Muller.)How many basic line effects arethere in this photograph? Noticehow the lampshades and theseveral open windows add"punctuation" to the overallpattern. (Student photograph byJohn Pang.)88 The Photographic Eye
  • 86. row of fence posts) and the border between a building and the sky both produce an implied line that works just as well. All of these possibilities boil down to three basic functions: pattern, direction and structure. As pattern, line is often a photo- graphs primary element. The lines themselves interact in some in- teresting way that is more important than any other elements within the frame. A photograph of buildings or cornfields or blades of grass is likely to emphasize pattern. As direction, line helps the viewers eye travel around the picture. Vis- ually, the lines say, "Go here. Look at that. Stop. Move on." A photo- graph with many different kinds of objects especially needs strong direc- tions to help the viewer understand it. Without directing lines, the overall image can simply seem like chaos (which, of course, may be the pho- tographers intention). As structure, line divides a photograph into smaller areas, pro- viding a skeleton to support the other elements and link them together. A strongly structured photograph will often seem to be several photographs in one. A photograph of several faces peeking out of windows is one exam- ple of this. Line also conveys movement, or the lack of it. A rigid grid of straight lines tends to make an image appear static, flat, immobile. Lines that con- verge (that are closer together at oneWhat "instructions" do these lines give to your eye? How does your eye end than at the other) or that shootmove around the photograph? Where, if anywhere, does your eye come to off toward the corners of the framerest? (Student photograph by William Roche.) tend to suggest motion. Straight lines suggest the full-speed-ahead motion of a train, or the up-and-down of a piston. Curves tend to suggest move- ment that is more like dance. Similarly, lines can increase or Line 89
  • 87. Notice the soft-focus lines behindthe tennis player. What instructionsdo they give to your eye? Whateffect do they have on thephotographs composition? On its impact? (Student photograph by Jon Portis.) decrease the apparent depth of an im- appear flat by shooting it straight on, age. If you shoot a flat surface from right at its exact center, and using a an angle, the lines in it will be closest small aperture. Any lines that would together at the point where the sub- normally indicate its roundness will ject is furthest away from you. appear straight and flat. This ap- This creates the illusion of three- pearance will be strengthened by the dimensional space, or depth. If you extreme depth of field (almost every- shoot it straight on, so the lines re- thing in focus) provided by the small main parallel, you reinforce the im- aperture. pression of flatness. You decide Finally, different kinds of lines ex- which effect you want. press different moods or emotions. You can even make a round object Straight lines tend to seem rigid, 90 The Photographic Eye
  • 88. What sort of musical sounds do the bent lines in each of the glassesWhats the "tune" of this woodpile? (Student photograph by Frank Hall.) suggest? What about the background lines? What instrumentharsh, intense. Curved lines and telephone poles, buildings, bowls, might play them? (Studentcircles are more inviting, calm and wheels, trees, grass, rivers, forks and photograph by Tyler Smith.)soothing. Zig-zags seem busy, con- spoons, cracks, mountains, pencils,veying excitement or confusion. curtains, clothing, hands, arms,Thick lines seem imposing. Thin ones chairs, fields, tennis courts, bleachersseem delicate. and jungle-gyms. To get a sense of how these effects Once you start noticing lines, youllwork, look at different kinds of lines find them everywhere. And that is ex-and see what sounds and rhythms actly the point. It is because they arethey suggest to you. What sort of everywhere that lines are so fun-musical instrument or tune reminds damental to photography. They areyou of wavy lines? Zig-zags? Circles? the basic vocabulary of the photo-Straight lines in a row? It may seem graphic language.odd to think of listening to lines, but It may seem odd to think of pho-with a little experimentation youll tography as a language. But thats ex-probably discover that it comes very actly what it is. Both a sentence andnaturally. Different kinds of lines do a photograph ought to have a sub-have different characters. ject. And just as a sentence may have The key point is that lines are ex- verbs, adverbs, objectives and prep-pressive tools. As a photographer, ositions, a photograph may haveyoull need to learn to use them movement, mood, perspective andeffectively. relation. Understanding line is the Before you can use them, however, first step toward learning to ex-you have to find them. Where should press yourself in the photographicyou look? Well, just about anywhere. language.Heres a short list: sidewalks, streets, Line 91
  • 89. EXERCISEPatternYour assignment is to find and shootpatterns. Any series of lines createsa pattern. Look above your head, down atthe ground, as well as straight ahead.Try to find subjects that are primarilypatterns, not just ones that have somepattern in them. So far as possible,have the pattern fill the frame of thephotograph. Try to have nothing inthe photograph except pattern. Though your assignment is toshoot pattern, you may want to con-sider some of the other qualities ofline as well, such as direction or struc-ture. See if you can add them into aphotograph without losing sight ofyour primary goal. Use these otherqualities to strengthen the pattern,not to detract from it. For example,you may want to use perspective soyour pattern recedes into the dis-tance, suggesting direction. Or youmay find a series of small patternscontained in a large one, creatingstructure. Remember to keep your camera onthe point of departure setting (f!6 at 1/125 of a second), and to shoot inopen sunlight. The rest is up to you. Student photograph by Allison Page.92 The Photographic Eye
  • 90. ...Experience the illusion of motion in this vivid image, created by the vertical lines of fences and their horizontalshadows. Do you get a sense of overlapping fences pumping up and down ? Can you feel how the shadows and stairsproduce a nearly circular sweep, up to our left and back down on the right? (Student photograph.) Line 93
  • 91. Can you distinguish line from texture in this shot? (Student photograph by Han June Bae.)94 The Photographic Eye
  • 92. chapter 7 Texture ow that youve begun to develop an eye for line, its time to complicate things abit by adding texture. Actually,youve probably already done this onyour own. The photographs you shot for the pattern exercise almost cer- tainly included texture as well. Likeline, texture is hard to avoid. Almost everything has some texture: rough or smooth, patterned or irregular, dra- matic or subtle. One thing youll begin to notice isthat the various elements of photog-raphy tend to overlap. Though youwill be exploring them separately, itis often difficult, even impossible, toseparate one element from another.You may not always be able to say,for example, "This is line; that is tex-ture." Dont worry about this lack ofprecise categories. The important Many photographs have more than one "level" of texture. The undulatingpoint is to recognize and understand surface of the cloth is one level of texture. The smaller variations in theall the different elements. It is far less weave of the cloth is another. (Student photograph by Evelyn Wight.)important to always be able to tellthem apart. Learning to notice them suggesting depth or height. Texture rapher, like a painter, has to employseparately, however, will help you strengthens that impression by pro- visual "tricks." These tricks create thelearn to combine them effectively. viding visual clues to the "feel" of a illusion of three-dimensional space. subject. In a sense, texture enables Depending on the angle fromEXPRESSING THE "FEEL" the eye to "touch" the subject. which you take a photograph, you A photograph, like a painting, is can use line to represent an objectTexture mainly concerns the surfaces two-dimensional. It reproduces a three-dimensionally, or to flatten it.of things. In the previous section, we three-dimensional image on a flat With texture, however, you aresaw how line can convey the impres- surface. To break through the limita- always working in three dimensions.sion of three-dimensional realism by tions of that flat surface, a photog- Flattened texture is simply pattern, 95
  • 93. and pattern is simply a combination of lines. Look at the photographs of a brick wall on this page. The first thing youre likely to observe is the pattern produced by the lines between the bricks. If you look more closely, however, youll see that the bricks stick out beyond the lines. This creates one kind of texture. If you look even more closely, youll notice variations in the surface of the bricks. Thats another texture. If the wall is evenly lit from the front, the strongest element will be line. The wall will look like a flat sur- face, divided into a grid pattern. Variations in the surface of the wall will not show as much. If, however, the wall is lit from one side, the element of texture will be strongest. The most noticeable thing about the wall will be the variations in its surface. The line grid will still be there, of course, but it wont stand out as much. Once again, youll notice that line and texture are similar. The dif- ference between them depends primarily on the angle of light. Texture is far more sensitive than line to shifts in lighting. If you con- tinued to look at that brick wall throughout the day, you would see the texture constantly changing as the sun passed over it. It would be most dramatic early and late in the day, when the sunlight strikes it at a low angle. This has the effect of stretch- ing out all the small shadows created by variations in the surface of the wall. As the shadows get longer andStudent photograph by Man- more exaggerated, they appear moreMcCoy. dramatic. One of the most important tasks for a photographer is to observe and make use of changing light. This is especially vital when shooting for96 The Photographic Eye
  • 94. texture, which depends on light. texture, and of how they can be com- Contrasting patterns of white snow In addition to enhancing the im- bined to increase impact. The first against dark steps creates a sort of pression of reality in a photograph, thing youre likely to notice about this zigzag motion aimed at the upper texture adds visual interest. Pure line photograph is the strong lines of the left corner of the image. Notice how or pattern can be very impressive, but building. As you look more closely, your eyes move as they look at thismay fail to hold the viewers interest. however, your eye will probably be picture. Do they settle at any oneTexture, particularly if it is irregular caught by the complex texture of the point? How does this feel? (Studentor complex, gives the viewers eye foreground. Finally, you might photograph by Amy Ferrais.)more to play with. It creates little notice how the glass distorts thenooks and crannies for the eye to ex- reflection of another building, in theplore. It invites the viewer to linger center of the frame.a while and look around. It also pro- The first impression, then, is line.vides information about the subject — The second is texture. The third isits age, condition and other qualities. shape, which well cover in greater The photograph of a building on depth in the next section. Each pro-this page is a good example of the dif- vokes a different kind of interest.ferent effects produced by line and As you continue to examine the Texture 97
  • 95. photograph, your attention may alsofocus on the small wedge in the lowerlefthand corner: line again. By com-bining several elements, and con-trasting two linear effects, thephotograph gains interest that wouldbe lost if it had concentrated only online. You can test this idea yourself, bycovering up the foreground so onlythe lines are visible. How does that affect your interest in the image? How does it change your impression of the building? This does not mean that texture necessarily improves a photograph. How you use it, and whether you use it at all, is strictly a personal choice. It is, however, one of your basic tools as a photographer. Learning to notice it is one step toward mastering technique. Used creatively, texture can provide enough information so that even a very abstract photograph makes perfect sense. Do you have any trouble recognizing the subject of this one? (Student photograph by Lynne Mattielli.)98 The Photographic Eye
  • 96. Texture itself can be an effectivesubject for a photograph. (Studentphotograph by Bjorn Goldis.)Texture can be very effective as acontext for another subject. Noticehow the highly textured vegetationsets off the shape and the soft furof the rabbit. (Student photographby Craig Hurst.) Texture 99
  • 97. EXERCISELeavesYour next assignment is to shootleaves. Not just any leaves, but leaveswith texture. As noted previously, itis important to keep the theme of theassignment in mind, as well as thesubject. Look for as many kinds of leavesas you can find. Leaves on trees, or on the ground. Even pine needles are officially acceptable, though they are not strictly leaves. In order to fulfill the texture requirement, youll want a good amount of contrast. This means that the leaves should be in open sunlight. Try to do your shooting in the morn- ing or afternoon, not in the middle of the day. That will ensure that the light is striking your leaves at an angle, enhancing their texture. Once again, use the point of departure set- ting f/16 at 125. Keep an eye out for interesting ef- fects of light and shadow: one leaf casting a shadow on another, or on the ground or branch beneath it. Finally, unless youre lucky enough to find a single leaf of extraordinary interest, youll probably do better shooting several together. Notice how they interact with each other and with Student photograph by David Kleinfelt. the frame of the picture. Crop in close enough so theres no wasted space, but dont forget that space can be a useful compositional tool.100 The Photographic Eye
  • 98. Student photograph by Alexandra Berg.Student photograph by William Roche. Texture 101
  • 99. A series of similar curves, an interesting juxtaposition of two objects (the sunglasses and the BMW hoodornament) and effective use of negative space all lend impact to this simple still life. (Student photograph byTrevor Bredenkamp.)102 The Photographic Eye
  • 100. chapter 8 Shape n the two previous exercises, familiar. If someone asks you to which is dominant, whether they youve begun training your describe something, you would prob- seem to belong together, and so on. eye to see line and texture. ably start with its shape. Relation tends to require someBoth are vital, but relatively simple, For a photographer, however, degree of judgment. For a relation tocompositional elements. The next shape is something more than a be clear, somebody usually has toone, shape, is more complex. To means of recognition. Shape helps decide what that relation is. You, asapply it well, you will have to pay convey the nature of a subject; not the photographer, for example, mayparticular attention to the relation- just what it is, but what it is like. Is make value judgments. You may de-ships between objects within the it heavy, light, big, small, beautiful, cide that object "A" is more attrac-frame of each photograph. ugly, interesting, plain? Shape tive or interesting or important than Youve already done a "test run" on answers questions like these. It also object "B," and you may compose athis in the framing exercise. The next answers questions about the way an photograph to indicate that relation.step is to take the lessons learned in object interacts with its surroundings: Or someone in your photograph maythat exercise and translate them effec- Which object is biggest, closest, most be making the decision, by looking attively and consistently into actual important? an object in a certain way, or touch-photographs. So, the functions of space in a ing it, or using it. Even the physical As weve mentioned earlier, the photograph can be grouped into three relationships of objects in a photo-photos you produce in the exercise on categories: mass, proportion and graph often depend on how one isshape will probably contain line and relation. Mass has to do with the looking at them. Two objectstexture as well. Thats precisely what amount of space an object fills up, photographed from a distance mayshould be happening. While each ele- how big and heavy it is. Proportion appear close together. The same ob-ment can be effective by itself, its has to do with how the mass of one jects shot close up may appear farlikely to be most effective in com- object compares to that of another, apart.bination with others. The goal of this and how the various parts of a single Like the relation between two peo-entire section is to provide composi- object "hang together." ple, the relation between two shapestional "building blocks" that you will Relation is probably the most com- (called a spatial relation) tells us moreassemble in new and interesting ways. plicated aspect of space, and the most than just that they happen to be important. Relation is primarily con- together. It asks us to consider whyMASS, PROPORTION cerned with how objects interact. theyre together.& RELATION This can mean physical factors, such Imagine two people youve never as whether they are close, touching, seen before, walking into a room.When we look at something, its shape far apart, similar, different, etc. In- What do you notice about them?tells us what it is. There are, of teraction between objects can also be What do you want to know? Yourecourse, other ways of figuring this extended to include interpretive fac- likely to observe them first as in-out —by smell or touch or sound — tors, such as which object is more at- dividuals, noticing each of theirbut shape is the way that is most tractive, which is more important, faces, clothes, mannerisms, etc. Then 103
  • 101. In this high-contrast print, shape is all there is . . . but its enough. The chair shape is clearly a chair and theperson shape is clearly a persons shadow. The spatial relation between the two is a/so clear. The shapes in thephotograph dont just convey information, however, they also convey a mood. This photograph is "about" morethan its graphic impact. (Student photograph by Amy Thomas.}youll probably start wondering why holds true for spatial relationships. If Perhaps the best way to summarizetheyre together. If they seem to be two objects are seen together that this is to say that spatial relationshipsan obvious pair, like two business- dont normally belong together, they (and, therefore, shapes) are rarelymen or two athletes, you may not are likely to catch our attention and without meaning. What that mean-wonder very long. If, on the other interest. In addition, they may tell us ing is —and who decides— is an openhand, you notice something odd something —about themselves, about question. It is perhaps the questionabout them, you might keep wonder- space, about relation —that we didnt that photographers are most con-ing. What if the businessmen were know before. cerned with answering. You can useboth dressed like circus clowns, or the In the best photographs, spatial your camera to express your own in-athletes were singing an opera? relations are used to tap us on the terpretation of objects and events.Wouldnt your next question be: shoulder and say "Look, isnt that in- You can use it simply to explore rela-"Whats going on here?" teresting!" We may be entertained, tionships, without imposing any spe- These are examples of how people amused or saddened, but we will have cific interpretation. You cannot,tend to respond to seeing odd per- learned something new about the however, avoid interpretation al-sonal relationships. The same thing world. together. As soon as you make the104 The Photographic Eye
  • 102. At its simplest and deepest level, a circle is a symbol of fullness. That works perfectly in this shot of plump sacks of beans and grain. Would the photograph have the same effect if the beans and grain were stored in square boxes? (Student photograph by Michael Rodgers.) decision to include one thing and not another, you are interpreting. Thats what photography is all about. USING NEGATIVE SPACE As mentioned in the chapter on com- position, a photograph is simply an image of something within a frame. That thing actually has two shapes. The first is the contours (the outer shape) of the thing itself. The second shape is the effect that those contours have on the surrounding space, in- cluding the rectangular box of the frame. This kind of shape is called negative space. For a photographer, it is every bit as important as the first kind of shape. Think of an apple. In your minds eye, draw a box around it. Then draw a line around the apple, tracing its contours. Finally, erase the apple, leaving the line. Negative space is what you have left. It is everything except the apple. In this case, because theres nothing but the apple in the picture, the negative space is everything be- tween the apple and the frame. If there were other objects in the pic- ture, like a banana, the negativeNotice how the large expanse of negative space in this photograph of a space would be everything betweenstadium establishes the visual "theme" of semi-circles (semi-ellipses to be the apple and the banana andprecise). How many times is that theme re-stated in the photograph? everything between them and the(Student photograph by Michael Rodgers.) frame. To make things a little clearer, lets look at an actual picture, the photo- Shape 105
  • 103. 106 The Photographic Eye
  • 104. Student photograph by MichaelGrassia.graph of a teakettle. Wheres thenegative space? If youre not sure,draw an imaginary line around theteakettle and imagine that the tea-kettle has been erased. Everythingelse is negative space. Now, look more closely and pickout areas where the negative space isinteresting. You might notice the areabetween the handle and the top of thekettle. It creates a circular shape thatresembles the opening in the tea-kettle, just below it. This kind ofrecurring (repeating) shape is oftenused to create visual harmony in aphotograph. It makes the photographinteresting because the human eye Negative space can be black (or gray) as well as white. This photograph ofautomatically looks for such a construction site would be very bland without the dramatic angularsimilarities. frame of black space. (Student photograph by Mina Murphy.) As you continue to look for shapesand to point them out in critique ses- frame of the photograph. Like visual to study it. Compare it to the effectsions, you will become increasingly harmonies, this also generates visual of the protruding spout. The spoutaware of these visual harmonies. interest. Anytime an object comes creates tension. The placement of theYour brain will decide that they are near another or comes near the frame teakettle within the frame has the op-worthy of notice and, as a result, of a photograph, it creates visual ten- posite effect. It centers the teakettle.youll begin to see them directly. sion. Its almost as if the object is This conveys a static sensation. TheMost people only sense visual har- pressing against the space between. teakettle "feels" like it is sitting verymonies vaguely, because they dont Oddly enough, the tension is solidly on the ground. It appears toneed to do more than that. As a strongest when objects almost, but be firmly placed, or grounded, withinphotographer, however, your job is dont quite, touch. Michelangelos the use these and other composition painting of the hand of God reaching If youve been looking closely, youtools, so you must learn to recognize out to the hand of Adam is a famous might have observed that the top ofthem. example of this effect. The effect the handle is also about the same At first you may need to make an would be weakened if their fingertips distance from the frame as the bot-effort to train your brain to take note actually met. tom and sides are. This increases theof visual harmonies. The way to do Where else in the teakettle photo- sense of stability.this is to ask yourself questions. For graph is a similar effect achieved? The main part of the teakettle isexample, how many circular shapes Now, what about the rest of the closer to the bottom of the photo-do you see in the photograph? There negative space? You may notice that graph than it is to the top. It isare at least five. Can you pick out all the sides and bottom of the teakettle weighted toward the bottom. Onceof them? (not counting the spout) are all just again, this reinforces the sense of What other areas of negative space about the same distance from the stability. If it were weighted towardare interesting in the teakettle photo- edge of the frame. What effect does the top, it would appear "top heavy,"graph? Look at the tip of the spout. this produce? and would tend to convey the impres-Notice how it almost touches the If youre not sure, take a moment sion that it might roll right out of the Shape 107
  • 105. As with line and texture, a photograph can simply be "about" shape. Here, a nicely balanced series of irregularshapes creates a satisfying landscape. (Student photograph by Mark Pry.)frame. In this case, weighting toward suspect that a photographer goes Developing that inner sense of pro-the bottom helps to promote the im- around measuring everything and portion and relation is one of the keyspression of realism. The teakettle making all sorts of mental diagrams to learning to see as a photographer.looks like it "should" look, and the before taking any pictures. In prac- Dont worry if it takes awhile. It willtension produced by the spout adds tice, most photographers work far come to you if you just keep at it.vitality and, therefore, interest. more subjectively (relying on intui- Before we leave the teakettle pho- Welcome to the world of negative tion). Once they understand the tograph behind, take a minute tospace. Learn to use it effectively and various elements of composition, notice how line and texture work inyoull be well on your way to master- they stop thinking about them. They it. As indicated above, elements caning photography. see a subject and intuitively arrange be combined to produce an effect One more thing should be said at the elements into an effective image. that is greater than the sum of itsthis point. In order to explain com- In essence, the purpose of discuss- parts. For line, look at the steppositional elements like shape and ing these elements objectively is to behind the teakettle. Notice the cor-negative space, we are discussing train your intuition. Once that is ac- ner of the doorway above it and thethem as if a photographer must be complished, you will be free to shoot subtle lines of the bricks below. Forobjectively (consciously) aware of what you see without a lot of calcula- texture, look at the surface of thethem before taking a photograph. tion. The math will become auto- teakettle, the step, the ground, thePhotography may seem like some matic. You wont have to think too wall, the grip of the handle. What ef-kind of visual mathematics. You may much about it, because youll feel it. fects do these elements have on the108 The Photographic Eye
  • 106. whole image? What do they tell you of several basic shapes. Others in- In certain cases, the negative spaceabout the objects? How do they work clude squares and triangles, plus a can be larger than the subject of atogether? variety of polygons (which literally photo without losing its impact. Now lets get back to the usual means "many sided shapes"). Then While the wall behind this womanmeaning of shape — t h e contours of there are the less regular shapes, has some texture to it, it functionsobjects. In the discussion of the from oblongs to "blobs." Creative essentially as negative space,teakettle photograph you may have use of any of these can enhance your surrounding her and providing anoticed that circles kept showing up. photographs — if you remember to dramatic setting that seems fullyAs you probably know, a circle is one look for them. appropriate. (Student photograph.) Shape 109
  • 107. EXERCISECircles & OvalsUse at least one roll of film to shootonly circles and ovals. You may haveother shapes in the photographs aswell, but be sure that each frame isdominated by one or more circularshapes. You may want to set up someof the shots (try experimenting witha cup and saucer, with spoons, platesor bowls), but at least half of yourshots should be of "found" circles orellipses (i.e. ones that you just hap-pen to see in your yard, neighbor-hood or town). Try to find a variety of composi-tions using circles or ovals. Try somewith just one circular shape, somewith lots and some with a few. Trysome shots in which one or more cir-cular shapes interact with squares orother shapes. Shoot in bright sunlightat the point of departure setting. Keep in mind the various functionsof shape and spatial relation as youdo this assignment. Without losingsight of your primary theme (circlesand ovals), see if you can use shapeto indicate mass, such as the "big-ness" of a pumpkin or a boulder. Tryto produce interesting examples ofproportion and compelling spatialrelations. In addition, try to come upwith a few shots that express what Student photograph by Scott think or feel about a subject. All these shapes are available to those shapes may repeat themselves "something" that you learn and wantyou as a photographer, just as they and establish visual harmonies. to pass on cant be expressed inare available to any artist. You just Finally, allow interpretations to words. If it could be, you could justhave to find them. emerge as you experiment with dif- say it or write about it, and you This is not as hard as it may sound. ferent compositions, different com- wouldnt need to photograph it. TheOnce you begin keeping an eye out binations of objects, different view- best photographs present an image orfor interesting shapes, youll probably ing angles. Allow space and spatial idea or feeling in a way that only abe amazed at how many are out relation to tell you something about photograph can. Strive to noticethere, just waiting for you to capture your subjects . . . and then try to those things t h a t need to bethem on film. pass that "something" on to others photographed, rather than spending Start by looking for individual through your photographs. time on those that simply can be.shapes. Then pay attention to how Dont be at all surprised if the110 The Photographic Eye
  • 108. Student photograph by Charles Gibbs.(Student photograph by John Pang.) Shape 111
  • 109. Student photograph by Bruce Cakebread.112 The Photographic Eye
  • 110. chapter 9 Light ou dont really have much control over the composi- tional elements weve dis- cussed so far: line, texture and shape. For the most part, theyre just "out there" in the world, waiting for you to notice them. You can change their positions within the frame of your viewfinder, by moving forward or back, or to one side or the other. You can make one element more domi- nant than the others, and you can edit out distractions. Outside of that, however, you dont generally have any real control over them. The next three elements (light, mo- tion and perspective) are more "in- teractive"—they allow (and may re- quire) more choice on your part. The soft, indirect light of open shade is more subtle and moody than They are, of course, also "out there" straight sunlight. It tends to convey a pleasant, rather dreamy, thoughtful waiting for you, just like line, texture or wistful quality. This is the sort of neutral gray tone a light meter and shape. But theres an important assumes you want. (Student photograph.) difference. You can choose whether to accept CONTROLLING have missed some good shots because the light thats "given" to you — o r you EXPOSURE the light wasnt bright enough. Itscan change it. You can, if you time to start putting your cameraschoose, make daylight look like mid- You have now used the "point of aperture ring to work.night, and vice versa. More subtly, departure" setting for several photo Before we do that, well need toyou can choose whether an object assignments. If youve followed in- review shutter speed as well, to gainthats in shadow will simply be darker structions carefully, you should an understanding of how aperturethan its surroundings or utterly invisi- already be producing consistently and shutter speed work together.ble. In fact, you have to choose. good results. It has probably oc- Set your camera at the point ofFollowing the recommendation of curred to you, however, that you departure setting. Your aperture ringyour light meter is a choice, especially cant count on the sun to provide will be on f/16, and your shuttersince you must decide what source of enough light for this setting to be cor- speed dial will be set at 125.light the meter is reading. rect all the time. You may already Change the aperture setting to 113
  • 111. Bright sunlight is best suited tocheerful "ordinary life"photographs . . . though it can beused to suggest that ordinary life ispretty strange. (Student photographby Dick Waghorne.) f/11. You have just doubled the as much time as 1/125, the amount amount of light that would enter the of light reaching the film has just camera if you clicked the shutter. been cut in half. So youre back at the Remember that increasing the aper- point of departure exposure again. In ture by one "stop" always doubles the other words, so far as the amount of size of the lens opening. (Also light is concerned, f/11 at 250 will remember that a lower number in- produce the same exposure as f/16 at dicates a larger opening.) 125. Now change the shutter speed to These two settings will not produce 250. Since 1/250 of a second is half exactly the same photograph. Both 114 The Photographic Eye
  • 112. Indirect light also tends to be the most flattering for portraits. It minimizes blemishes and encourages a relaxed, open expression. (Student photograph by Marciano Pitargue, Jr.) time you moved from one aperture to another. If so, the first click indicates a half-stop, a lens opening halfway between two standard apertures. If, for example, you started at f/16 at 125 and opened the lens half a stop, you would be letting 50 percent more light into the camera. The resulting photograph would be lighter, but not twice as light. Half- stops are very useful for fine tuning an exposure.the depth of field and the visible mo- adjust the aperture ring to this f-stop.tion in the photograph will be slight- What aperture will give you half asly different, as will be explained later much light as f/16 at 125? If youveon. The amount of light in each pho- ended up with your aperture ring attograph, however, will be the same. f/11 (with your shutter speed still at Set your camera on the point of 500), then youre getting the idea. Andeparture setting again: f/16 at 125. aperture of f/8 and a shutter speedNow change your shutter speed to of 1/500 of a second will match f/16500. What aperture will give you an at 125. An aperture of f/5.6 at 500exposure that matches f/16 at 125? will give twice as much light, and f/11Adjust the aperture ring to this will give half as much.f-stop. As youve been going through this What aperture will give you twice exercise, you may have noticed thatas much light as f/16 at 125? Again, the aperture ring clicked twice every Light 115
  • 113. An unlighted subject against a light background produces a very graphic silhouette. With luck and skill, the shapeof the figure will convey all the basic information needed to make sense of the image. (Student photograph byMark Bissel.)116 The Photographic Eye
  • 114. INFORMATION & MOOD By now you know that light is what makes a photograph possible. With- out light bouncing off of objects and into your lens, you wouldnt be able to photograph anything — or see any- thing. Beyond this, though, light has two primary photographic functions: It provides information and it in- fluences mood. Information is facts. Your eyes convey facts to your brain, which the brain then translates into understand- ing. "That is a building." "That is a person." "The person looks larger than the building." "Aha!" says the brain. "The person is standing in front of the building." That, more or less, is how visual information works. But it gets more complicated than that. Variations in brightness and shadow, the intensity of textures, the way in which shading may exaggerate shape, and other factors all con- tribute to our visual perceptions of things. And they are all influenced by light. For example, compare the two photographs of a person kicking at the camera. The first is a silhouette. Because there is far less light on the subject than on the background, the subject appears black. How much in- formation does the photograph pro- vide about the person in it?A well-lit subject conveys additional information —in this case, primarily Now look at the second "kick"facial expression and three-dimensional shape. (Student photograph by photograph. How much informationMelanie Fernandez.) does this photograph provide? As you can see, the two photographs are similar in content and composition — but very different in lighting. In extreme cases, light may deter- mine whether a photograph is con- fusing or clear. More commonly, the way you handle light may make the difference between immediate and delayed recognition of what some- Light 117
  • 115. Low-light tends to be very somber,even sinister. It is difficult to use,since the subject must be placed inexactly the right spot in order tobe visible. Used well, however, itcan be highly dramatic. (Studentphotograph by Chris Jacobs.)thing is or what it means. This, inturn, may make the difference be-tween a strong emotional response ornone, between sustained interest orboredom. Mood is another vital ingredientprovided by light. We tend to res-pond to lighting in much the sameway as we respond to weather. Brightlight, like a sunny day, tends to makeus feel cheerful, relaxed. If the light is harsh, however, as it is on a bright hazy day, the mood will tend to bestark and unfriendly. Soft light, like mist, tends to make us nostalgic,wistful, dreamy. Darkness, like nightor an approaching storm, makes us feel worried, frightened, serious. You can use these natural reactionsto heighten the effect of a photo-graph. By filling a photograph witha lot of darkness and shadows, youllincrease the impact of such "dark"emotions as fear and foreboding. By filling it with bright light, youll in-crease the sense of well-being. Sometimes, however, youll wantcontradictions in your photographs:a sad face or scene in bright light, or ance with each other. If you concen- tends to be annoying.a cheerful one in shadows. This is trate too much on information and Fortunately, you have two chancesanother way that light can be useful, choose l i g h t i n g t h a t is bright to modify the light in a photograph:by "playing against" the prevailing throughout the frame, your photo- when you shoot it and when you printtone of a subject. Though such con- graph may lack emotional impact. it. While youre shooting, you maytradictory impressions may create On the other hand, it is equally choose an exposure that is based onconfusion, if they are handled well possible to emphasize mood so much either the highlights (brightest areas)that confusion itself will be in- that the photograph loses its ability or shadows (darkest areas), or for ateresting. The viewer will want to to convey information. Youve prob- mid-range of grays ("average" areas).figure out whats going on. ably seen photographs in which, for Imagine that you are photograph- To apply light effectively you must example, peoples faces are lost in ing someone whos wearing a whitekeep information and mood in bal- shadow. It may be moody, but it also shirt and a dark jacket. If you expose118 The Photographic Eye
  • 116. By intentionally reducing the light entering the camera, dramatic climatic effects can be enhanced, adding moodand impact. (Student photograph.) for the highlights, then all the details of grays. If the lightest and darkest by the film, theres nothing you can in the white shirt will be clear, but grays are so different in value that do to bring it back. some shadow detail —such as the tex- they exceed the films range, or The safest approach to exposure, ture of the jacket —may be lost. If, latitude, then you have to com- therefore, is to aim for the middle:on the other hand, you expose for the promise. (Review value, if necessary, average gray. This is exactly what ashadows, the jacket will look great, in Chapter 4.) light meter does. Any light meter,but the white shirt may disappear. This is where the second chance to whether built into a camera or hand- The reason for this is film latitude. modify light comes in. When you held, assumes that the average lightEvery kind of film is sensitive to a shoot, the photograph, you can in any scene is predominantly gray.specific range of light. Very few films choose to stress one part of the value (Note: If youre using a hand-heldcan handle all the variations in range. Then, when you print it, you light meter, refer to the that our eyes can see. In can re-adjust the balance — b u t only The rest of this section deals with in-black-and-white photography, this to a certain extent. If certain infor- camera meters.)limitation is most evident when mation (such as the texture of theyoure trying to capture a wide range shirt or jacket) did not get recorded Light 119
  • 117. FOCAL POINT: Light MetersIf your camera is less than 15 yearsold, then you will almost certainly beusing a light meter that is built intoyour camera (internal). If your cam-era is not equipped with a built-inmeter, then you will need to use ahand-held model. Depending on the brand andmodel, you may be informed of thelight reading by a needle that movesup and down, a series of lights, or anumerical display showing the cur-rent recommended aperture. Withonly a little practice, you should beable to respond to your cameras lightmeter and achieve the effect you wantquickly and accurately. Before you can do this, however,youll need to know what the lightmeter is actually trying to tell you. Alight meter may "read" either incidentor reflected light. Incident light is thelight that is generally available in agiven lighting situation. Imagine, forexample, a black cat sitting in a whitechair in an evenly lit room. The inci-dent light reading will be the same forboth. That means the amount of lighton the cat is the same as the amounton the chair. Reflected light is thelight that actually enters the camera.This is the light that is reflected by agiven subject. If your meter ismeasuring reflected light, it will givea much higher reading for the white for a large area. A spot meter focuses some kind.) If the image area ischair than for the black cat. This is in on a small area. Some cameras are generally bright, but dark at thebecause the chair, being brighter, will equipped with a switch that lets you center of the frame, a center-reflect far more light. choose either kind of meter. Most, weighted averaging meter will in- Light meters that are built into however, compromise by giving you dicate a larger aperture than an or-cameras measure only reflected a "center-weighted average" reading. dinary averaging meter would. If youlight — t h e light that enters the This means that the light meter aimed a spot meter at the dark areacameras lens. There are two kinds of averages the light throughout the at the center of the frame, the readingreflectance meters: averaging meters image area, but pays special attention would be lower still.and spot meters. An averaging meter to the center of the frame. (The Most of the time, an averaginggives you the average light reading center is often indicated by a circle of meter works adequately, since high-120 The Photographic Eye
  • 118. USING A LIGHT METER The specific gray that a light meterlights and shadows tend to balance incident reading from the sun. assumes you want is one that re-each other out. A center-weighted Hand-held meters have one addi- flects only about 18% of the light itmeter usually works better, because tional advantage. If you attempt to receives from the sun. (Pure whitethe main subject tends to be near the take any photographs in very low reflects close to 100%; pure blackcenter of the frame. A spot meter can light (at night, for example), you may close to 0%.) This figure-"18%be very useful, however, when you discover that your cameras light gray" — h a s been scientifically cal-are photographing a scene in which meter doesnt work at all shutter culated to represent average light-the light is quite different in different speeds. It may shut off when you get ing for most of the picture. It can be espe- down to 1 /8 of a second, perhaps, or So, if the average light reachingcially useful when large areas of the 2 seconds. A decent hand-held meter, the light meter is darker than anpicture are either very bright or very by contrast, will give you a reading 18% gray, the light meter will recom-dark. When the sun is behind your for shutter speeds of 4 minutes or mend a larger aperture or a slowersubject, for example, making the sky more (depending on the ISO of your shutter speed, to let more light i n .very bright and leaving your subject film). If the average light reaching thein shadow, you will need to make a One final point: as noted in this meter is brighter than an 18% gray,spot reading of the subject to be sure chapter, reflectance light meters the meter will call for a smallerthat it is correctly exposed. assume that your subject is neutral aperture or faster speed, to let less Fortunately, theres an easy way to gray in tone. If you want to photo- light this, even without a spot-meter. graph a subject that is brighter overall Nine times out of ten, this isSimply move close enough so your (such as a snowy field) or darker precisely the kind of advice you want.subject fills most of the frame. Then overall (such as a black cat), youll The light meter will recommend thestep back and compose your shot, need to change the aperture accord- camera setting youd choose your-setting the exposure as indicated by ingly. If you dont, both the snowy self, if you took the time to figureyour close-up reading. Some cameras field and the black cat will turn out it out.permit you to "lock" the exposure gray . . . which is probably not what Ah, but what about that one timewhere you want it by pressing a you want. For the snow scene, youll out of ten when the light meters ad-special button. When you use this need to use a larger aperture than in- vice is not what you want? Supposetechnique, be sure that you dont dicated, and for the cat youll need youre photographing someone whocreate any shadows on your subject to use a smaller one. is standing between you and the sun.when you move in for the close-up Because the sunlight is coming rightreading. at you, it is very bright. Unless the Hand-held meters read both re- person is filling up most of the frame,flected and incident light. For the your light meter will react to thereflected light reading, you aim the bright sunlight and tirge you to selectmeters lens at your subject, just as a very small aperture or a veryyou would with a built-in meter. For fast speed. What will it do to yourthe incident reading, you place a photograph?translucent cover over the meters By letting only a little light into thelens, stand near your subject and aim camera (just enough so the sunlightthe meter toward your camera or shows up as a nice gray), the persontoward the light source. If youre you intended to photograph will lookshooting outdoors in even light like a black blob. This is probably not(either all sunny or all cloudy, for ex- the effect you hoped for.ample), you can obtain an all- Heres another example: Yourepurpose average reading by taking an photographing a black cat on a black Light 121
  • 119. couch. The average light in the sceneis quite a bit darker than an 18%gray. Your light meter will tell you touse a very large aperture, or a slowshutter speed, or both. The result? Awashed-out looking gray cat on agray couch. None of this means that a lightmeter is a bad thing. A light meter isa great tool. Its primary drawback isthat it wants to make everything gray. Knowing this can help you use it more effectively. If youre shooting under tricky lighting conditions (any conditions in which precision is im- portant), take a meter reading off something that is close to an 18% gray, and set your camera accord- ingly. Your blacks will be black, and your whites will be white. If you want to make the photograph darker or lighter than "normal," you can then adjust your aperture or shutter speed accordingly. If, for example, you decide that youd like the whole scene to appear darker than it actually is, you can take a reading for an 18% gray and then decrease the aperture by one or two stops. Fine, but how are you supposedto find a sample of 18% gray whenyou need it? You can buy a 18%gray card that is scientifically pro-duced to be exactly 18% gray.Or you can use the gray card you By metering off the subjects face, rather than averaging the entire scene, aalready have: the palm of your rich black context was produced for this striking portrait. (Studenthand. Whether youre black, white, photograph.)hispanic or oriental, you can ob-tain an acceptably accurate mid- your subject. Dont let the camera reading at the center. Therefore, yourrange reading simply by holding cast a shadow on your palm. Also be palm should fill most of the imagethe palm of your hand in the light sure to hold your camera close area, and should especially cover theand aiming a meter at it. enough to ensure that other light is center. When you do this, be sure that the not confusing the reading. Most (Note: To increase the precision oflighting on your palm is the same as modern cameras have center- your "palm readings," comparethe lighting on the subject of your weighted averaging meters. This them to readings from a gray card.photograph. Your hand should be means that they read light from Place it in open shade and take a lightheld so that the light strikes your several points around the image area, meter reading from it. Be sure thatpalm at the same angle as it strikes but give more importance to the the card fills your view-finder. Then122 The Photographic Eye
  • 120. If you dont want a silhouette when shooting a subject against a bright sky, it is essential to meter the subject . . . not the sky. This is the sort of shot that automatic cameras tend to mess up. (Student photograph by Steve Gates.) take a reading from your palm in the same light. The difference between the two readings indicates how far your palm varies from an 18% gray. You should add or subtract this amount whenever you take a reading off your palm. For example, if the gray card reading was f/5.6 and the reading for your palm was f/4, then you should always open your lens up one stop more than indicated by a "palm reading.") There are more sophisticated theories and techniques for obtaining ideal lighting, but this one is certainly the easiest. Most of the time, itll do just fine. Another common way to avoid the pitfalls of a faulty light reading is called bracketing. When you bracket a shot, you shoot several frames at different exposures. By doing this, you are simply improving the chances of getting a correctly exposed image. If, for example, your light meter called for f/8 at 125, you might bracket by shooting one frame at that setting, plus one at f/5.6 and one at f / 1 1 . Or you might shoot five frames within that three-stop range, using the half-stop settings on your aper- ture ring. You can also bracket by ad- justing the shutter speed. For exam- ple, f/8 at 60, 125 and 250. OTHER FUNCTIONS OFShadows, produced by angled light, help to "anchor" objects so/idly as LIGHTwell as adding visual interest. (Student photograph by Joshua Noble.) Light has some additional functions that it shares with other composi- tional elements. Like line, light can Light 123
  • 121. promote rhythm. Alternating bandsof light and shadow, for example, orisolated spots of light surrounded bydarkness may create very strong andinteresting visual rhythms. Similarly, light and shadow canreproduce or enhance many of the ef-fects of shape. Even a small objectcan appear quite massive if it pro-duces a large shadow. In addition, the shadow of an ob-ject often indicates how that object relates to its environment. Test this yourself. Close one eye and look down at your foot. (By closing one eye, youre losing depth perception, and seeing things the way the camera sees them.) Now lift your foot off the floor. Can you convince yourself that it is still touching the floor? If you cant, its probably because the shadow cast by your foot is providing clear relational information: it is showing you the relative positions of your foot and the floor. Try this in several lighting situa- tions, viewing your lifted foot from several angles. (You can alter the lighting without moving by using a notebook to shade your whole foot.) Experiment until your foot looks like it is still touching the floor. Then con- tinue experimenting until no amount of imagination can fool you —until the relation between your foot and the floor is unmistakable.DEPTH OF FIELDTheres one other way that light af-fects relation: depth of field. As wediscussed in Chapter 2, depth of field The depth of field in this photograph is sufficient to provide a clear visualis the range of distance that is in ac- context for the elderly farmer. Notice how the old tin cans in theceptable focus at one time. If you foreground and the woodstove in the background contribute to thehave small, or "narrow," depth of photographs effectiveness. (Student photograph by Robert Lewis.)field, whatever you have focused on(the focal point) may be the onlything in focus. If, instead, you have124 The Photographic Eye
  • 122. FOCAL POINT: Depth of FieldTo understand how depth of field When you focus the lens, you are point of unfocused light will beworks, it is important to understand increasing and decreasing the size of larger. With the smallest apertures,how focusing works. What deter- these circles on the film plane. Light a considerable range of focal errormines whether or not a subject is from one point of the apple spreads will still convey a crisp image. If youclearly focused? out to fill the lens and then tapers examine the diagram carefully, youll Lets say youre photographing an back to a point (see diagram), mak- see how narrowing the cone of lightapple. Rays of light from the sun are ing the shape of a cone. When the produces this result.constantly bouncing off that apple in subject is in focus, the tip of that So, if you have focused accuratelyall directions. When you click the cone is right at the film plane. When on the apple and are using a smallshutter of your camera, you allow the subject is out of focus, the cone aperture, the cone of light will prob-some of those rays to travel through comes to a point in front of or behind ably be narrow enough for the ba-the lens to the film inside the camera. the film plane. nana behind the apple and the orangeThe rays of light react with the film Now, how does depth of field fit in front of it to also appear to be into produce an image of the apple in with all this? Since the light spreads focus. If you are using a large aper-composed of a series of "points" — to the edges of the lens opening, the ture, both the banana and the orangeor dots of light. Ideally, a point of base of the cone of light is as wide as are likely to be represented by over-light striking the apple would repro- the aperture. The width of the base sized circles and, therefore, to appearduce as an identical point of light on of the cone determines the angle at fuzzy.the film. In reality, it is more of a cir- which the light will travel toward the That, in essence, is how depth ofcle. If this circle is 1/200 of an inch film plane. If the aperture is large, the field works. (Arent you glad youin diameter, it will appear to be a light will come to a point more grad- asked?)sharply focused point to the human ually than it will if the aperture iseye. If most of the circles that make small. The same degree of error inup the image of an apple are larger focus will produce a more out-of-than that, the image will appear focus image with the large aperturefuzzy. because the circle produced by each Light 125
  • 123. long, or "wide," depth of field, thenobjects behind and in front of thefocal point will also be in focus. Depth of field is primarily deter-mined by two factors: the apertureand the focal length of the lens. Sinceaperture concerns light, well dealwith its effect on depth of field in this section. Focal length is discussed in more detail in Chapter 11. For now, just bear in mind that 6 feet will have a depth of field from ferent objects apart. Youve probably depth of field decreases as focal 5 to 7 feet. The same lens at the same seen photographs in which a tree length increases. In other words, if aperture, focused at 20 feet, will also seems to be growing out of someones you set a 50mm and a 100mm lens at have a depth of field from 10 to 30 head. Thats one common result of the same aperture and focus them on feet. In the first case, relatively close too much depth of field. a subject at the same distance, the to the camera, the depth of field ex- Used creatively, limited depth of depth of field will be greater with the tends only 2 feet. In the second case, field helps to single out one object or 50mm lens. Objects in the foreground at a greater distance, it extends 20 one part of an object. The viewers and background will be in focus for feet. If you focus on something 2 feet eye automatically aims for what is in the 50mm lens that are out of focus away, the depth of field will only be focus. If that also happens to be the for the 100mm lens. about 1 inch. primary subject of the photograph — Aperture, as youll recall, is the size You may, of course, want less the thing the photographer wanted us of the opening through which light depth of field. This brings us to all to notice — then the photograph is enters the camera. A smaller aper- how depth of field "works" in a likely to attract interest and attention. ture, like a shorter lens, increases photograph. Too much depth of field can have depth of field. For a partial explana- Two objects in a photograph that another undesirable effect. By bring- tion of why this is so, consult "Focal are both in focus will seem close ing too many images to the viewers Point: Depth of Field." Fortunately, together, because thats the way attention, the emotional or aesthetic you dont really need to understand youre used to seeing things. Your impact of the primary subject may be the reasons for this fact in order to eyes provide you with very selective watered down or destroyed. Instead make use of it. focusing, so two objects that arent of concentrating on one subject, the With a small aperture, therefore, close together are not both in focus eye will get busy checking out all the the range of acceptable focus will ex- at the same time. Your brain expects others. tend beyond whatever is in precise a photograph to work the same way. Sometimes, of course, thats focus. Only one exact distance will be Depth of field; therefore, can do precisely the response you want. A 100% focused. (This distance is two useful things in a photograph. photograph of a bustling city, for ex- called the focal point.) However, ob- First, it can convey the impression of ample, may best capture the bustle by jects in the f o r e g r o u n d and depth. As you may recall, a photo- having many details in focus. With a background will seem to be in focus graph is a two-dimensional image of photograph of a single rosebud, on as well. As the aperture of the lens three-dimensional objects. It needs all the other hand, youll probably want increases, this range of acceptable the help it can get to seem three- to be more selective. focus (depth of field) decreases. dimensional. By reproducing some The distance between the focal objects in focus and some out of point and the camera also affects focus (imitating normal vision), depth of field. The greater this depth of field helps to create the il- distance is, the greater the depth of lusion of a three-dimensional image. field will be. For example, a standard Depth of field can also tell the eye 50mm lens set at f/8 and focused at where to look, and help it tell dif-126 The Photographic Eye
  • 124. EXERCISEBracketingSelect a subject with a wide range of Then shoot one frame at each f-stop several subjects to find one that pro-values —from black through various below the one selected by the light duces the most interesting variations.grays to white —and shoot it several meter. If you use only one subject, try totimes, at one shutter speed, but sev- For the most interesting range of find several angles to shoot it from,eral apertures. lighting effects, try to shoot in so you can compare effects. Different Before shooting, take a light lighting that is just a bit less than angles will produce the most varietyreading of some part of the subject broad daylight. Your meter reading when the subject is dramatically lit.that is in the mid-range of grays (or should be around f/8 at a shutter This means that your subject needsmeter off your palm). speed between 250 and 60. to receive some direct light, and that Shoot one frame at the setting You should produce at least two youll want to shoot early or late inrecommended by your meter, then different exposures of a single subject the day.shoot another at each f-stop above it, to be critiqued. However, you maywhile keeping the same shutter speed. want to try the same procedure onStudent photographs by MarcMcCoy. Light 127
  • 125. A skillfully handled blurred motion shot can convey a sense of being caught up in the action. (Student photographby Sheri Allen.)128 The Photographic Eye
  • 126. chapter 10 Motion ust as variations in depth of field can make a photograph look more or less three-dimensional, motion can be used toassert or disguise the fact that aphotograph captures only a tiny sliceof time. Allowing a moving subjectto blur during an exposure "stretches"time a bit, emphasizing the subjectsmovement. "Freezing" the subjectemphasizes the cameras ability to"grab" an instant of time and hold itstill. Each approach can be very ef-fective. Neither is exactly lifelike,however, because your eyes recordmovement as a series of instants (theway a motion picture does).THE SCIENCE OF BLURSAn object in a photograph willappear blurred if it moves whilethe shutter is open. If the objectmoves across only a very small por-tion of the image area, it will seemonly slightly blurred. If it movesover a large portion, it will blurconsiderably. How far an object moves throughthe image area depends on threethings: its speed, the speed of theshutter, and the angle of view. The angle of view can be imagined A limited amount of blur can add sparkle to a simple gesture, making aas a triangular or funnel-shaped photograph more lively and expressive. (Student photograph by Sonjawedge extending from inside the Gray.)camera out into space. The edges of 129
  • 127. A fast shutter speed (or flash) will "freeze" a subject. Some flash set-ups can even freeze a bullet in mid-flight.In this photograph of a dove, the wings are allowed to blur just enough to suggest movement. (Studentphotograph by Darrel Miers.) this wedge are the boundaries of the with a narrow angle of view —a cameras "sight." Whatever is inside 200mm telephoto, for instance- the boundaries will show up on the selects only a small part of the total film. Whatever is outside wont. image in front of it. It effectively The longer a lens is, the smaller its crops in on a small fraction of the angle of view will be. (This will be ex- total scene, just as you might do plained in more detail in the next when editing a print. The narrow chapter, when we discuss perspective angle of view enlarges that fraction and interchangeable lenses.) If a lens to fill the image area. has a narrow angle of view, an ob- Lets say youre photographing a ject wont have to move very far to car driving along a road that crosses create a blur. your field of view. A 200mm lens The reason for this is that a lens might cover only a few feet of the130 The Photographic Eye
  • 128. Js this bird photograph less "correct" than the previous one? It all depends on what you want to convey. Allowinga subject to blur almost to the point of becoming unrecognizable can be a very effective way of conveyingmovement. It generally takes several trial-and-error shots to get it just right. (Student photograph by CherylPlumb.)road. In 1/60 of second, the car would cross only a tiny fraction of is relatively far from the camera, andmight move 10% of the distance the field of view, perhaps 1%. It will the same lens and shutter speed arefrom one side of the frame to the therefore produce virtually no blur at used, the movement will cover aother. This would be enough to pro- all. smaller area and be less visible.duce a very obvious blur when the The same principles apply to the You can also control the amountphotograph was enlarged. distance between the camera and the of image area affected by a moving If a lens has a large angle of view — object being photographed. If the object by increasing the shuttersuch as a 28mm wide angle — m u c h camera is very close to the object, any speed. Quite simply, the faster yourmore of the road will fit into the movement of the object will cover a shutter speed, the less time an objectimage area. That same car, shot at fairly large area of the image area at has to move. If the shutter is fastthe same shutter speed, at the same a moderate shutter speed. A visible enough, even an object that is mov-distance, moving at the same speed, blur will result. If, instead, the object ing very quickly will seem to be stand- Motion 131
  • 129. Panning will at least slow down a moving subject. Used with a slow shutter speed it will blur the background,producing an effective impression of motion while retaining the subjects clarity. (Student photograph.)ing still. This is often referred to as using a fairly fast shutter speed, you STOP AND GO"freezing." may be able to freeze even a quickly There are other ways to avoid moving subject by panning. Once again, there is no "right way"blurred movement. You can choose If youre using a relatively slow to shoot everything. Sometimes youllsubjects that arent moving, of shutter speed, however, the subject want a subject to be very blurred.course, or wait for a moving one to may blur less or not at all, but the Sometimes a slight blur is best.stop. You can also make a subject background may blur considerably. Sometimes youll want no blur at all.slow down by moving with it. The This will result in a fairly crisp im- The important thing to recognize ismost common way to do this is called age of the subject, but it will seem to that this is an aesthetic decision, andpanning. To pan, you stand in one be moving very quickly, due to the that you have several ways of puttingplace and swing your camera to streaks of the background. your decision into effect.follow the movement of your subject In most cases, you dont want anywhile you click the shutter. If youre blur when youre photographing im-132 The Photographic Eye
  • 130. mobile objects —buildings, rocks or furniture, for example. If you try to photograph a building with a 200mm lens at 1/8 of a second, youll pro- duce the disturbing impression of a major earthquake. You may or may not want some blurring when photographing objects that move occasionally or slowly: tree leaves, people walking, or flowing water. In this case, youll want to choose the distance, lens and shutter speed that best produce the motion effect you want. Finally, youre most likely to want blurring when photographing objects that tend to move quickly and often: racing cars, galloping horses, a basketball team in action. In this case, a long lens and/or a slow shut- ter speed may be in order. As you notice moving subjects dur- ing future assignments, take a mo- ment to consider your options. How- many ways of creating blurred mo- tion can you recall? How many can you recall to prevent blurring? The sooner all your options come to mind automatically, the sooner youll be able to control motion effectively and creatively.Blurred motion can even be used effectively with immobile objects, as inthis impressionistic image of St. Patricks cathedral, created by hand-holding the camera for a long exposure. (Student photograph by MikeBrace o.) Motion 133
  • 131. EXERCISE -BlurredMovementAssignment: Experiment with variousways of illustrating motion by usingslow shutter speeds.Goal: Use blurred motion with a clearpurpose and with a clear result. Inother words, try to get a shot in whichthe blur really expresses motion.Tips: Set your camera at f/16 and 1 /15 to start .Once you get going, ex- periment with shutter speeds as low-as 1/8. Youll find the assignmenteasiest on a gray, overcast day, since you dont want too much light. Alter- natively, you might use a neutral density filter, which cuts down the amount of light entering the camera. You may shoot in one of three ways: 1 > Aim your camera so your sub-ject is moving into the frame. Begin following your subjects movementand then release the shutter. Keepmoving with the subject as the shut-ter opens and closes. This will pro-duce a blurred background with yoursubject more or less "frozen." 2> Mount your camera on a Student photograph by Jeffrey Parker.tripod or find some other way to holdit very steady. Aim so your subject of lines radiating out from your on light). If it already blends in, theis moving into the frame and release subject. blur will make it blend even more.the shutter. This will produce a Note that youll have to find (Note: If you are doing your ownsteady background with your subject something to focus on, or guess the processing at this stage, you can in-moving across the frame as a blur. distance, before your subject moves crease contrast by overdeveloping 3> Attach a zoom lens to your through the frame. your film for 2 minutes and/or usingcamera, then mount it on a tripod or Possible subjects include runners; a high-contrast paper — g r a d e 4 orfind some other way to hold it steady. almost any sports activity; motor- 5 — for printing.)Focus on the subject with the zoom cycles, bicycles and other vehicles; aat its maximum focal-length (i.e. 200 person or a group of people jumping,on a 75-200 zoom). P u l l back on the twirling, swinging, dancing, etc.zoom lens and immediately release Your subject should contrast withthe shutter. This produces a pattern the background (light on dark, dark134 The Photographic Eye
  • 132. Student photograph by Charles Stuart Kennedy III.Student photograph by Marciano Pitargue, Jr. Motion 135
  • 133. Converging lines and an appropriate point of view are the two key ingredients of perspective. (Student photographby Kenneth Griggs.)136136 The Photographic Eye
  • 134. chapter 11 Perspective erspective is the one com- positional element that is almost entirely in your cont- rol. The word "perspective" means "point of view," both literally and figuratively. In its literal sense, it means where you stand in relation to your subject and how that influences the appearance of your subject. In the figurative sense, it means how you feel about your subject. The literal aspect of perspective is essentially practical. If from your point of view the sides of your sub-ject are visible as they recede into the background, then your perspective will enhance the perspective of thesubject. You can tell where it starts and how far back it goes. If, on the other hand, the sides ofthe subject are invisible from yourpoint of view (as, for example, when This photograph is an example of what is called "two-point" photograph a low building The dominant perspective lines run along the vertical axis to the right ofstraight-on from the front), you center. A second, less evident, perspective runs out of the left side of thediminish its perspective. The building photograph. Try using your cropping Ls to determine if the photograph iswill appear flat as a pancake. stronger with both perspective points, or with just one. In addition, notice When we talk about perspective how the shadows play off of the other structural elements of thefiguratively, it means how you photograph. (Student photograph by Kimberly DeMarco.)perceive a subject, not just spatially,but aesthetically, emotionally, evenmorally. This kind of perspective re-quires that you understand your sub-ject enough to have an opinion oridea about it . . . and that you havethe technical skill and creativity toconvey that opinion or idea to others. 137
  • 135. For now, lets stick with the literal FOCAL POINT: Lenseskind of perspective. No matter whereyou stand and where you look(straight ahead, to one side, up or Long & Short Imagine that you are photograph-down) objects are receding away The primary factor that makes one ing a house from a distance of aboutfrom you. Thats how space works. lens different from another is its focal 50 feet. The focal length of your lens Much of the time you arent par- length. When a photographer speaks determines how much of the houseticularly aware of this fact. of "a 50-millimeter lens," he or she will be recorded on the film in theEverything just looks normal. But means that the focal length of the lens camera. With a wide-angle lens (suchwhen you start drawing rectangles measures 50 millimeters (50mm). One as a 28mm), you would probably be around things with the frame of a millimeter is a bit smaller than 1/32 able to fit the whole house into one photograph, all lines become much of an inch. A 50mm lens, therefore, frame of film. With a normal lens more obvious. The lines and angles has a focal length of about 2 inches. (50mm) you might be able to fit in of the frame provide a point of The focal length of a 200mm lens is only the front door and two win- reference with which to compare about 7 7/8 inches. dows. With a telephoto (such as a other lines within the frame. So, a So, what is "focal length" and why 200mm) you might be limited to a building receding into the sky above is it so important? Technically, focal single window or less. you, or into the distance in front of length is the distance from the optical Making the lens longer reduces the you, may seem distorted, strange or center of a lens to the film plane. This angle at which light can enter the dramatic depending on the lens distance is four times as long within lens. In other words, as focal length youre using. a 200mm lens as it is within a 50mm. increases, the angle of view decreases. Until recently, this would have been (The angle of view is measuredLENSES fairly obvious, because the 200mm diagonally across the image area, lens would have been just about four from corner to corner.) First lets take a look at the various times as long. Modern techniques of Decreasing the angle of view also kinds of lenses available, all of which "bouncing" (or, more precisely, re- decreases the field of view. The field fit into three basic categories: wide- flecting) light back and forth within .of view is what you see in the view- angle, normal and telephoto. a lens, however, permit one that ac- finder (and what you capture on Wide-angle lenses have a wide tually measures less than 100mm (or film). It is the image area. angle of view. They allow a large about 3 7/8 inches) to have a focal With a 28mm lens, the angle of amount of any scene to be included length of 200mm. view is 75°. The borders of the field within the frame of a photograph. A 50mm lens is generally con- of view create a 75° angle (like a thick They have the shortest focal lengths, sidered to be "normal" for a 35mm slice of pie) that starts at your camera ranging from 15mm or less to 45mm. camera. However, any lens with a and stretches out to infinity. Extreme wide-angle lenses (18mm focal length between 45mm and Anything that can be seen within that and below) are called "fish-eyes," 55mm falls within the normal range. angle will show up in your photo- because they produce a very dis- A normal lens comes nearest to the graph. The angle of view for atorted, circular image. The most vision of a human eye. Though you 200mm lens is only 12° (like a verycommon wide-angle focal lengths are cant see as much through the lens as thin slice of pie). In simple terms: the28mm and 35mm. you can with your eyes, the size, longer your lens, the less you will see The next category of lenses is "nor- distance and proportion of what you through it, and the less will appear inmal." These are the lenses that most do see appears to be the same. your photograph. Because fewer ob-closely match the normal vision of the Any lens with a focal length over jects will fit into a single frame, look-human eye. They range from 45mm 55mm is in the telephoto range. Any ing through a long lens is a little liketo 55mm. The most common normal lens with a focal length under 45mm looking through a telescope: distantlens is 50mm. is in the wide-angle range. Telephoto objects appear closer, small objects The third category is telephoto lenses, then, are casually referred to appear larger.lenses. These produce a telescopic ef- as "long" and wide-angles as "short."138138 The Photographic Eye
  • 136. Fast & Slow is particularly true for telephoto a depth of field as possible, since it Besides being available in different lenses. is difficult to hold telephotos steady lengths, lenses also differ in terms of The aperture number is calculated and focus them accurately. There- the apertures they can accommodate. by dividing the focal length of the fore, you can get by just fine with a You might hear a lens referred to as, lens by the diameter of the lens open- fairly small maximum aperture (f/4 for example, a 50mm f/2.8 ("fifty ing. The actual lens opening of a and f/3.5 are common and afford- millimeter, f two eight"). The first 200mm lens would therefore have to able). With normal and wide angle number refers to the focal length of be four times as wide as that of a lenses, large apertures become farthe lens and the second number refers 50mm lens to achieve the same max- more useful and, fortunately, less ex-to its largest aperture. imum aperture: pensive. Its a good idea (though by As you know, larger apertures let no means necessary) to have at least in more light. If an image is correctly 200mm focal length one short lens with a maximum aper- exposed in 1/60 of a second with an 4- 71.4mm diameter = f/2.8 ture of f/2 or f/1.4. aperture of f/4, it will take only 50mm focal length 1/125 of a second to be correctly ^ 17.8mm diameter = f/2.8 exposed at f/2.8. With a larger aperture, the film is exposed more 17.8mm x 4.01 = 71.4mm quickly. So, a lens with a very large maxi-mum aperture (f/2 or f/1.4, for ex- As you might guess, increasing theample) is called a fast lens. One w i t h amount of optical-quality glass anda relatively small maximum aperture other materials also increases the cost(say, f/4) is called slow. Fast lenses of producing a lens. However, a tele-allow you to shoot at faster speeds or photo lens —even a fast one — i s rarelyin lower light than slow lenses do. useful in low light. To get the bestUnfortunately, increasing the speed results, a telephoto needs a fairly fastof a lens also increases its price. This shutter speed. It also needs as wide Perspective 139
  • 137. feet, making distant objects appearlarger and, therefore, closer. Theyrange from 55mm to 500mm andbeyond. Moderate telephotos (rang-ing from about 70mm to 150mm) areoften referred to as "portrait" lenses,since they are most flattering forfaces. The most common portraitlens length is probably 135mm. Other popular telephotos include 150mm, 175mm and 200mm. Longer tele- photos are generally used only for such specialized work as sports photography. (Note: Many photographers use a "doubler" — o r , more properly, an "extender" — t o increase the focal length of a telephoto lens when nec- essary. A doubler is a short tube or lens which, as its name suggests, doubles the focal length of any lens. A 150mm lens with a doubler, for ex- ample, can produce the same results as a 300mm lens, at far less expense.) True telephotos (anything over 150mm) present some challenges that you should know about at this point. We discussed one of these challenges earlier: decreased depth of field. If you like the effect it produces, some reduction in depth of field can be perfectly all right. You must focus more carefully with a long lens than with a short one, however. If you dont, you may not have anything in A wide-angle lens has a wide field of view, producing an apparent focus at all. distortion of objects close to it. This can be very effective, if thats the Another consequence of a long effect you want. Used to photograph distant objects, however, most wide- lens that weve already discussed is angle lenses produce an entirely "normal-looking" image. (Student reduced angle of view. Because a long photograph by Daniel Watson.) lens has a narrow angle of view, any motion will be more conspicuous with a long lens than with a short one. Once again this can be good orbad, depending upon what you want.If you want some blurred motion, atelephoto lens can achieve it. One of the great drawbacks of longlenses is that they magnify camera140 The Photographic Eye
  • 138. shake. Unless your camera is on a tripod, it will shake somewhat as you click the shutter. With a normal or wide-angle lens at a normal shutter speed (1/60 of a second or faster), this presents no problem. With a long lens, especially one over 200mm, the problem gets quite serious. Because the lens is longer and heavier than normal, it is more dif- ficult to hold steady. Because its angle of view is narrower, even slight movement is more likely to show up when you print an enlargement. You can offset some of the camera-shake problem by increasing the shutter speed. If you use a shutter speed that is roughly double the focal length of the lens you should have no camera- shake problem. In other words, you should be able to hand-hold a 135mm lens at a shutter speed of 250, or a 200mm lens at 500. With practice, however, youll be able to do con- siderably better than that. Increasing the shutter speed further reduces the depth of field, because youll need a larger aperture to com- pensate for the faster speed. Further- more, most telephotos dont open up to very large apertures. This means that in less than ideal light, you may have to choose between risking a blur or missing the shot altogether. An ex-A telephoto lens allows you to "get close" to a subject without actually ample would be a shot that requiresmoving, which is particularly helpful when the subject is inaccessible. In you to set the aperture on f/2.8 at 125addition, it will tend to "compress" distances, adding emphasis to the with a 200mm lens. If your lens onlypatterns created by layers of lines or shapes. (Student photograph by opens up to f/3.5, then youll justMichael Grassia.) have to shoot at that aperture, with a shuttter speed of 60, and hold your breath. As mentioned earlier, a zoom lens is essentially several lenses in one, since a single zoom will provide a wide range of focal lengths. Like any other lens, however, a zoom also has limitations. If youre using a wide-to- tele zoom (say, 28mm to 80mm), Perspective 141
  • 139. youll have many focal lengths tochoose from. But you will probablyhave at least one less f-stop than aplain 28mm or 80mm lens would giveyou. Thats not a huge sacrifice undermost conditions, but it is somethingto be aware of. (This is the reason wepreviously suggested that you shouldhave at least one fixed-focal-lengthlens. You never know when youll need to shoot something at f/2.8.) Every lens involves a similar trade- off. They are all good for some kinds of shots and not good for others. A wide-angle, for example, would be a poor choice for shooting a football game. You might get some nice im- ages of the stadium, but the action of the game would be utterly lost.DIFFERENT WAYS OFSEEING With a 50mm lens, as weve men- tioned, things appear much as they do through a human eye. Receding objects will generally appear quite normal. With a wide angle lens, the lines of perspective will be exaggerated, so a building will seem taller or longer as it recedes from you. The lens does not actually change those lines. It only seems to because of the wide angle of view. A zoom lens not only offers the benefits of several lenses in one, it vill What effect do you get if you shoot also make some interesting special effects possible. This shot was made bythe same building, from the same zooming the lens during a long exposure. (Student photograph by Charlesposition, with both a wide angle and Cibbs.)a telephoto lens? The wide angle shotwill seem to distort the image to em- the telephoto shot, you would have angle print with your face as close asphasize depth, so objects will seem two virtually identical photographs. possible to it. The nearer you comefarther away. The telephoto will seem But what about the way a wide- to matching the original viewing posi-to distort it in the other direction, so angle lens bends peoples faces at the tion for the scene, the more normalobjects seem flatter and closer than edges of the frame? This is also just the photograph will look. When youthey actually are. The important an apparent distortion. The lens is ac- stand back from a wide-angle print,word here is seem. If you crop out of curately recording an image from a you are simply compressing a broadthe wide-angle photograph the por- certain perspective. The best way to viewing angle into a smaller space, sotion of the entire scene that fit into test this is to look at a large wide things look weird.142 The Photographic Eye
  • 140. The combination of height and distance enhance the perspective of this photograph. Notice how other lines in thephotograph reinforce it. (Student photograph by Lynne Mattielli.) Perspective 143
  • 141. Student photograph by Russell Wells.144 The Photographic Eye
  • 142. Student photograph by Laurie McMillen. 50mm lens, the relation between the person and the building will seem to be "normal." With a 200mm lens, the person may seem to be right next to the building. So, different lenses make different points of view available to you. In a sense, the only "honest" lens is a 50mm. Its the only one that repro- duces your actual point of view. Longer and shorter lenses create the impression of other points of view, by allowing you to expand or crop in- to an image. As a result, you appear to be closer to or farther from it than you actually are. A POINT OF VIEW How do you apply perspective? There are two ways, both of which involve establishing a point of view. One point of view (the literal kind) is physical — where you place yourself in relation to your subject. The second kind of point of view is harder to describe. It too depends on where you stand in relation to your subject . . . but not just physically. It also depends on where you stand aesthetically (is the subject beautiful, plain, ugly?), emotionally (does it make you happy, amused, worried, sad?) and ethically or So, if you actually get the same need to take the shot from where you spiritually (do you believe the subjectimage with each lens, why not just are. itself is good, indifferent or bad?).stick to one and move closer to or But theres another reason too. Sooner or later, youll want to dofurther from your subject? There are While the subject itself may look the more with your camera than justtwo reasons. First, you cant always same, its relation to other objects in make copies of things. Youll want todo that. If your subject happens to the frame will change. Imagine that explore them, find out what makesbe a pro football lineman in the mid- you want to photograph a person them "tick." Youll want to reach andle of a game, youre much better off standing 50 feet in front of a build- understanding of them and expresssticking to the sidelines. If your sub- ing. With a wide-angle lens, the per- that to others. Thats when youllject is a bird flying over a lake, you son may seem to be standing 100 feet begin to be an artist with a camera.really dont have much choice. You away from the building. With a Perspective 145
  • 143. EXERCISEPoint of ViewAssignment: Photograph a singlesubject from several different angles.At least two final prints should beproduced.Goal: See how many good composi-tions you can produce by looking atyour subject from all sides: front,back, right side, left side, top, bot-tom, even up close and far away.Tips: Use lighting as well as positionto add variety and interest to thisassignment. Try shooting early or latein the day to make use of dramaticlight and long shadows. Alterna-tively, you might want to set up somekind of light source (such as aspotlight) to produce ypur ownlighting effects. Most importantly,shoot a lot of film, at least one en-tire roll. Student photographs for this exercise by Jeff Frye.146 The Photographic Eye
  • 144. Perspective 147
  • 145. part 3 People, Places & Things: Exercises & Examples Student photograph by Jim Piazza. 149
  • 146. Student photograph.
  • 147. chapter 12 Things y now, you should have a good grasp of the basic ele- ments of photography. You may even have the beginnings of a personal style. The most important thing at this stage is practice. So, with the exception of the Appendix, the re- mainder of this book is devoted solely to exercises. Each exercise assignment promotes specific skills and insights. The assignments can be as challenging (or as easy) as you choose to make them. Almost all of them can be accom- plished with the knowledge you have already acquired. (If and when you feel the need for more information, the Bibliography will give some ideas of where to start looking.) For the first category of exercises, you will be photographing "things" - isolated objects. Things are generallyeasier to photograph than places orpeople (the next two categories).However, its not necessarily easy todo it well. Before you set out to cap-ture your bicycle (or any other sub-ject) on film, its a good idea to setsome objectives for yourself, beyondthose required just to complete theassignment. In fact, this a good habitfor photographing anything. Clearly it is not enough merely toproduce an accurate image of your Student photograph.subject. A photocopying machine ac-complishes that objective quite well. 151
  • 148. But what is "enough"? While the FOCAL POINT: Edward Westonultimate answer to that question is upto you (and to those who critiqueyour photos), here are a few hints. By the 1920s, photography had be- photography. The Pictorialists be- A good first objective for any come an accepted part of American lieved that photography should im-photo is to generate visual interest. culture. Photographers were busily itate painting, and they strove toObviously, a photograph must pro- producing images of people, places reproduce painterly effects with theirvoke interest to hold a viewers atten- and events that they or their clients cameras. Westons early photo-tion. Before you can make the rest of considered significant. Presidents, graphs, true to Pictorialist style, tend-us understand your intentions, you boulevards, buildings, newlywed ed to use soft-focus and dreamy must make us want to understand couples, battles and factory workers lighting. them. were all being faithfully recorded and After encountering the work of There are many ways of achieving preserved for posterity. Edward Steiglitz, Paul Strand and other visual interest. First is composition. Weston helped promote a whole new Realists, Weston changed his mind A skillful composition can generate way of seeing. He photographed both and his style. He began using large interest all by itself. Light is another soaring mountains and a handful of format cameras to produce "straight" important factor. Others include pebbles, the "great themes" and photographs of exceptional precision depth of field, shutter speed effects relative trivia. He was interested in and clarity. Along with Ansel and printing technique. pure aesthetics, in anything that had Adams, he was a founding member A second objective is mood. compelling line, texture, shape or of "Group f.64," an association of Though it is often hard to define, vir- lighting. photographers who all believed in us- tually every effective photograph has Other photographers, as far back ing small apertures to achieve ex- a mood of some kind. It neednt be as Daguerre and Talbot, had photo- treme depth of field. a familiar one like "happy" or "sad." graphed small objects or details of Weston was born in 1886 in High- If a photograph emphasizes shape large ones. However, Weston was land Park, Illinois, but spent most of and texture, the mood may be "sen- among the first to consistently elevate his life in California and other suous." If it suggests a scientific the ordinary into fine art. He pho- western states. He opened his own examination, the mood may be "clin- tographed weathered doorways, eggs, photographic studio at the age of 18, ical" or "detached." If its not clear fruit, rocks, eyeglasses and cabbages, specializing in portraits. Nearly 20 what the photographer is intending, striving to capture the essence of years later, in 1923, he suspended his the mood may be "confused" or each. Westons subjects became im- commercial work and spent three "playful." A photograph that is ap- portant because they had been pho- years in Mexico. Upon his return to parently concerned only with line, or tographed. Absolutely anything was the U.S., Weston began concen- light and shadow, may have a mood appropriate, if it could be compell- trating on the nature studies for that is simply "aesthetic." ingly presented. which he became famous. From A third objective is expression. Curiously, Weston began his the mid-1930s until his death inThis one is optional, though recom- career heavily influenced by the Pic- 1958, Weston was widely regardedmended. A photograph is expressive torialists, one of the most conser- as one of Americas foremost when it "says" something. You can vative of the various "schools" of photographers. use almost any subject to expressyour own feelings about the world.Or you can try to stand back and leteach subject (whether it be a bicycleor a person) speak for itself. You caneven do both: combining your ownmoods and perceptions with the in-herent qualities of your subject.Decide for yourself.152 The Photographic Eye
  • 149. 1886-1958Edward Weston, Pepper, 1930. c Sothebys Inc. 1987. Things 153
  • 150. EXERCISEBicycleAssignment: Photograph a bicyclefrom various angles.Goal: Explore the idea that there ismore than one way to look at any ob-ject. Once you start really looking, thepossibilities are endless.Tips: Get in close and shoot parts ofthe bicycle: pedals, spokes, handle-bars, seat, light, kickstand, gears, etc.Get even closer and shoot details of theparts: a portion of the gears, the hand-grip of the handlebars, the joint of thekickstand. Then pull back a bit and look forpatterns: the various lines and circlesand curves and angles of the frame,wheels and mechanism of the bicycle.Pull further back and shoot the entirebicycle in an interesting environment.Alternatively, shoot it in a very plainenvironment, so the shapes of the bi-cycle stand out clearly. Approach the bicycle from thefront, back, top and either side. Getdown under it and shoot upwards. Layit down and shoot it on the ground.Get in close again. Step back. Movearound. Try to find as many ways asyou can to look at this one object. Student photograph by Charles Bell. (Note: You dont have to restrictyourself to one bicycle. Look for varia-tions in different ones. Find or placeseveral bikes together and shoot themas a group. Do, however, get at leasta half-dozen shots of one bicycle, tosee how many variations you can findin a single object.)154 The Photographic Eye
  • 151. Student photograph by Charles StuartKennedy III.Student photograph by Bruce Wiles. Things 155
  • 152. EXERCISEHubcaps &TaillightsAssignment: Photograph auto-mobile hubcaps and taillights (head-lights are acceptable as well).Goal: Concentrate on cropping inon your subject. Explore variousways of composing circular and othershapes within the rectangular frameof a photograph.Tips: Choose y o u r subjectscarefully; the more intricate the bet-ter. For example, a very plain hub-cap will generally be less interest-ing than one with spokes or other Student photograph by Stephen Griggs.decoration. Shoot pieces, details. Its a goodidea, for instance, not to get thewhole hubcap into the frame. Cropin on an interesting part of it. Lookfor patterns. In this exercise, patternsare more important than the objectbeing photographed. Notice how light interacts withchrome and glass. Pay particular at-tention to precise focusing. Experi-ment with different angles for in-teresting effects. Move around. Student photograph by Marciano Pitargue, Jr.156 The Photographic Eye
  • 153. Student photograph by David Kleinfelt.Student photograph by Han June Bae. Things 157
  • 154. EXERCISEEggsAssignment: Arrange several eggs ona white background and photographthem.Goal: Explore the possibilities of arepeated simple shape, of light andshadow, of a white subject on a whitebackground, and of a "set-up"shot —all at once. Try to produce aphotograph in which the eggs are ar-ranged in a pleasing compositionwhich is enhanced by their shadows.Tips: Try using a large (i.e.32" x 40") piece of white matboard, so you can experiment freelywith composition and viewing angle.Shoot in bright sunlight and rely onthe point of departure camera setting(f/16 at 1/125 of a second). This isanother case in which your lightmeter will only be confusing. Dont settle for the first shot thatcomes to mind —explore! Try variousarrangements and various anglesuntil you get something thatsexciting. Student photograph by Jun Hwang.158 The Photographic Eye
  • 155. Student photograph by Cliff Blaskowsky.Student photograph by William Roche. Things 159
  • 156. EXERCISEObject &Its ShadowAssignment: Photograph an object(or part of it) along with its shadow.Goal: Explore how an objectsshadow can add visual interest to aphotograph. In addition, learn to place both anobject (or part of an object) and itsshadow effectively into a rectangularframe.Tips: Youll get the best resultsearly or late in the day (from dawnto mid-morning or mid-afternoon tillsunset), when shadows will be niceand long. Be sure your subject is well-placed to cast an interesting shadow.Its best if the shadow is cast on afairly simple surface —a complicatedsurface tends to reduce a shadowsimpact. Pay particular attention to negativespace. Try to achieve visual tensionbetween the object and the shadow.This can be done by placing the ob-ject over to one side of the frame andletting the shadow stretch to the farside (a corner to corner stretch can beespecially effective). Student photograph by Charles Stuart Kennedy HI.160 The Photographic Eye
  • 157. Student photograph by LynneMattielli.Student photograph by Evelyn Wight. Things 161
  • 158. EXERCISEBottles &GlassesAssignment: Photograph an ar-rangement of bottles and/or glasseson a white background. (32 x 40"white mat board is recommended).Photograph the arrangement fromvarious angles to explore the com-positional possibilities in it.Goal: Achieve the best possiblewhite, gray and black tones, using thecorrect aperture and shutter speedcombination (f/16 at 125 in brightsunlight). Produce an interesting composi-tion that makes good use of thesetones. Student photograph by Jeff Frye. Tips: Dont rely on your light meter. Stick to the "point of depar- ture" setting and you will get the cor- rect effect. The background should be a true white, but with texture visi- ble. Black lines (where glass is thick or is touching something) should be clear and dark enough to contrast strongly with the white. Gray tones should be varied and delicate, not muddy. Notice how the shapes of the bot- tles or glasses interact with each other, and how their shadows interact as well. Do not let the edge of the white sur-face show in the frame! A telephoto or, better still, a zoom lens is helpful for an assignment like this. If youhave one, use it. If you dont, just getin close. Student photograph by Bill Backus.162 The Photographic Eye
  • 159. Student photograph by Lynne Mattielli,,- Student photograph by Cliff Blaskowsky. Things 163
  • 160. EXERCISEWaterAssignment: Photograph water-any kind of water, from a puddle toan ocean.Goal: Capture some of waters dif-ferent qualities: calm and still, rip-pling, splashing, falling, cascading,moody, etc.Tips: Watch for interesting reflec-tions on calm water; for water in-teracting with other objects (people,animals, rocks); for how water af-fects and is affected by its environ-ment; for water as an environment;for drops of water on leaves, glass,metal, etc. Try looking into the waterfor fish, pebbles, discarded bottles orwhatever else you might find. Photograph a landscape or a citystreet through a wet window in ahome, apartment or car. Keep an eyeout for floating leaves, sticks orboats, anything half in and half outof the water. Look for things grow-ing in water: lilies, grass, algae. You may want to photograph anobject and its reflection, or just thereflection. Try shooting a calm reflec- Student photograph by A! Webb.tion first, and then tossing in a peb-ble to see what effect that has. Finally, you might catch peopleplaying in water — a t a fire hydrant,in a swimming pool, along a river orat the ocean.Student photograph by Greg Garre.164 The Photographic Eye
  • 161. EXERCISEOld ThingsAssignment: Photograph a varietyof old objects, things that are wornfrom age or use —houses, tools, toys,furniture, etc.Goal: Show how the age of an ob-ject influences its character.Tips: People in our society tend tothink that a thing has to be new andglossy to be good. Few people ap-preciate things that have earned theircharacter through age and lots of use.Thats what this exercise is about. Look for peeled paint, rust,broken glass, things that have beenabandoned, used up, worn out. Theyhave a statement of their own, aspecial mood. That mood may be sad Student photograph by Mark Mealey.("This thing is all worn out"), orhappy ("This thing has been usefulfor years"). Try to capture t h e objectscharacter. Notice how light and tex-ture may help to portray thatcharacter. Possible subjects include oldhouses, cars, tools, bridges, traintracks, machinery, abandoned build-ings, an old can, discarded toys, achipped plate, teacup, fork. (Note: If you find something in-doors that you want to photographoutdoors, be very careful that itdoesnt look set up. Adjust the ar-rangement until it looks natural.) Student photograph by Thomas A. Perez. Things 165
  • 162. Student photograph by Richard Greenstone.166 The Photographic Eye
  • 163. chapter 13 Places s you progress from "things" to "places," the number of variables you must control will increase. Now, in addition to placing your subject carefully within the frame and wor- rying about the effect of light and shadow on it, you have to pay atten- tion to all kinds of potential com- plications and distractions. People, animals, cars, trucks and weather can get in your way just as youre about to click the shutter. Buildings, trees and telephone poles can make it im- possible for you get the composition you want. In addition, youll have to be veryconcerned with perspective: shouldyou be close to a building or far Student photograph by Debbie Taggart.away? How big should a tree looknext to the building? How much sky either have to stick to fast shutter very aware of you. Some of themshould be included? Should you crop speeds or learn to like the blurs. may prefer not to be in your photo-in on a small part of the scene or try Lighting will become more com- graph. For the assignments in thisto fit it all into the frame? Mean- plicated as you enlarge your field of section, you should be able to avoidwhile, your subject is likely to be view from particular objects to this problem either by leaving peoplechanging all the time. If you think general scenes. While you will still out of your photographs or by ask-too long, it may no longer be worth need to pay particular attention to ing permission in advance (e.g. forthe bother. If you get impatient, you how the light affects your primary the "Construction Site" exercise).may miss out on a new and unex- subject, its affect on the surrounding However, if you feel that some ad-pected opportunity. environment will be important as vice on photographing people is ap- There are other challenges as well. well. propriate at this stage, you mightFor example, if your subject has any You will also begin to face the want to read the introduction to themoving parts (people, animals, challenge of dealing with people. If "people" category of exercises.machines, running water, trees in the youre photographing a crowd, you Overall, controlling composition iswind, etc.), long exposures will pro- may not be aware of all the individual the greatest challenge youll face asduce blurs. This means that you will people in it. They, however, may be you begin photographing places. Its Places 167
  • 164. you photograph. Try to crop in on FOCAL POINT: Ansel Adamsthem, cutting out anything that justadds confusion (unless of course con-fusion is what you want to express). Widely admired both for his elo- The photographer is then in suitableDont forget to move around — f r o m quent landscapes and his technical control of the photographic processside to side and up and down. Youve skill, Ansel Adams was among the according to the Zone Systems ad-probably seen other photographers most influential photographers in vocates. Critics say that the resultingcrawling on the ground, climbing up history. Through his exhibitions, photos may seem to be about littletrees and generally looking foolish. books and classes, he inspired thou- more than technique itself. In anyHeres your chance to do it too. When sands of aspiring photographers to case, Adams and his use of theyoure photographing a place, creative adopt his philosophy and techniques. Zone System must be given credit forsolutions may be required to resolve Adams specialized in photograph- producing some extraordinarycompositional problems. ing the natural environment of the photographs. American West. His photographs are Adams was born in San Francisco typically vast panoramas of moun- on February 20, 1902. His early in- tains and sky, with highly dramatic terest in music led him to become a composition and lighting. Extreme professional (self-taught) pianist by clarity was a key element of his style. his early 20s. Photography, however, To achieve that goal, he used large- would soon demand his full atten- format cameras, very small apertures tion. He obtained his first camera at (such as f/64) and long exposures 14 and promptly traveled to Yosemite (sometimes over an hour). to experiment with it. For the next His technique is based on the decade, he photographed there every "Zone System," a set of procedures year. In 1927 his first collection of that provide very precise control over photographs was published —and the range of values in a photograph. very favorably received. By 1930, By adjusting both exposure and de- friends and admirers had convinced velopment times (with the appropri- him to shift his career from music to ate burning and dodging), a photog- photography. From then until his rapher using the Zone System can death in 1984, Adams remained one lighten the shadow areas and/or of the most respected and widely ex- darken the highlights to achieve finely hibited photographers in the world. balanced tones. The final image is often utterly unlike the original scene. Ansel Adams, Moon and Halfdome, Yosemite Valley, c 1955.168 The Photographic Eye
  • 165. 1902-1984 Places 169
  • 166. EXERCISELandscapeAssignment: Photograph a largeexpanse of any "natural" environ-ment. Depending on where you live,"natural" may mean virginwilderness, agricultural land, aseashore or an inner city park. Doyour best, however, to avoid build-ings, roads or other indications ofhuman influence.Goal: Capture something of thecharacter of the landscape you pho-tograph. Is it lush, wild, domesti-cated, barren, pleasant, forbidding,calm, awesome? Take time to findout, and then express your conclu-sions in your photographs.Tips: Dont just go out and pointyour camera at the view and call it alandscape because it has land andtrees and sky in it. Make the com-position work. Look for visual har-monies: recurring patterns in trees,rocks, the contours of the land,water, clouds. Shoot in snow, rain, mist, brightsunlight, any weather. Notice how at-mospheric conditions change the en-vironment: How does rain affect anopen field, a pond or river, a forest? (see Appendix). If its raining, or the Student photograph by ClarkHow does bright sunlight affect sky is heavily overcast, you may want Peterson.them? Notice how clouds relate to the to use a larger aperture (or slowershape of the land. shutter speed) to brighten the photo- Patience is important. For exam- graph. If the whole scene seems toople, once you decide what to photo- bright, you may want to darken it bygraph, you may have to wait until the using a smaller aperture (or fasterclouds do just the right thing. speed). Be aware of your position in Pay particular attention to tech- relation to the sun, and the effect thatnique. Landscapes are very demand- has on your results. Experiment, anding subjects. For example, you may take notes on what youre doing, sowant to use a filter to make clouds youll know what worked and whatmore distinct, to darken the sky or didnt.otherwise achieve the effect you want170 The Photographic Eye
  • 167. Student photograph by Patrick Stout.Student photograph by Al Webb. Places 171
  • 168. EXERCISEArchitecture& EnvironmentAssignment: Photograph a building(or buildings), showing how it relatesto its environment.Goal: Before you start shooting,ask yourself some questions aboutthe relation between the building (orbuildings) and environment. Are theyin harmony with each other? Do theyclash? Does one have a negative ef-fect on the other? Do you like oneand dislike the other? Do you like ordislike them both? Use your camerato help you answer these questions.Decide what youd like to say aboutwhat you see, and say it with yourphotographs.Tips: Pay attention to the sur- rounding natural environment, land-scaping, streets, other buildings, etc.Any kind of buildings are acceptable:suburban homes, row houses, apart-ments, high-rise offices, barns andsilos, trailer homes, buildings shapedto fit an odd piece of land, etc. Dont restrict yourself to an eye-level perspective. Get up high andlook down. Lie flat on the ground Student photograph by Jeffrey Richter.and look up. Go off to one side oranother. Step back into an alley orside street. Get in close. Move faraway. If you have more than one lens, use them. Try a wide angle lensup close, a telephoto from a distance.172 The Photographic Eye
  • 169. Student photograph by Mark Crew.Student photograph by Derek Leath. Places 173
  • 170. EXERCISENeighborhoodsAssignment: Photograph a neigh-borhood—any place where peoplelive.Goal: Try to express a "sense ofplace": What is it about this neigh-borhood that makes it special? Dontjust shoot a collection of buildings.Tips: You may or may not want to include people in your photographs. Make that decision on the basis of what you want to express about the neighborhood. If it seems like a friendly community, a place where people are important, then youll probably want them included. If it seems cold and empty, a bunch of buildings where people just happen to live, then you may want to express that feeling by not showing any peo- ple in your photographs. Notice how light affects the moodof a neighborhood. Use the light tohelp express your feelings: dark andsolemn, bright and cheerful, pale andsad, etc. Also notice that neighborhoods,like people, tend to show their age.Is the neighborhood itself young,middle-aged, old? What about the spend time outside, or stay indoors? Student photograph by Bruce Wiles.people in it? Are many of them Learn as much as you can by justsimilar in age and character to their looking around. Then see how muchneighborhood? of what youve learned can be ex- Look for clues about how people pressed in a single tree-lined avenues, people water- Most of the rules that apply to ar-ing lawns, trash cans in the morning, chitectural photography also apply tosimilarities and differences among the this assignment. You may want to getvarious houses or apartments. What down low and look up, get up abovekind of cars are in the driveways or and look down for patterns, shootparking lots? What kind of decora- from a third story window, throughtions do you see? Do people hang out trees or gates, or from down an alley.their wash on clotheslines? Do they174 The Photographic Eye
  • 171. Student photograph by Gerald Allen Conway. Places 175
  • 172. EXERCISEZoo/FarmAssignment: Go to a zoo or a farmand photograph animals. If you cant get to a zoo or farm,find some pets to photograph.Photograph only animals, not peopleon horseback, for instance, or ananimal with a trainer.Goal: Try to get more than just aphotograph of an elephant or cow ordog. See if you can capturesomething special about one par-ticular animal.Tips: Animals, like people, arehighly expressive and mobile. Tophotograph them well, youll have tocatch them in action or wait till onestops in an interesting pose. Experiment with perspective. Getin close enough to crop out thebackground completely. Step backand show the animal in its environ-ment. Show the whole animal, just apart of it — a n ear, eye, tail, foot-er several animals together. Look fortexture (such as an elephants hide)and pattern (a zebras stripes). In addition to zoos and farms, youmight find good subjects at a coun-try fair, a cattle auction, a dog show,or in a park. Even in the middle of you use a large aperture. Try to open Student photograph by Sam Tipton.a city, you should be able to find dogs up to about f/2.8, but remember thatand cats; you might find horses; and youll need to focus very carefully. Ifyou will certainly find pigeons. your subject is also fairly far away, If there is a cage between you and the cage may disappear entirely.your subject, get as close to the bars Alternatively, if youre at a zoo, anor wire as possible (assuming you outdoor show may give you an op-cant shoot between them). The cage portunity to photograph animals out-will then just be a blur, especially if side of their cages.176 The Photographic Eye
  • 173. The placement of the cat, combinedwith light spilling in through thewindow, makes this photographmore than a portrait of a particularcat. It evokes a mood, conveys asense of place and time, artel si irs ourmemories — even though we havenever experienced this particularscene. (Student photograph by LynnMiller.)Student photograph by DavidKrumlauf. Places 111
  • 174. EXERCISEStore WindowsAssignment: As you photographstore windows, look for two things:merchandise on display and reflec-tions in the glass. Be careful to keep yourself out ofthe photograph as much as possible.It is not acceptable for you to beclcarlv visible.Goal: Try to catch somethingunusual, especially something hu-morous. Dont just show a windowwith things in it. Make sure yourphotographs say something aboutthose things.Tips: Look for patterns and in-teresting juxtapositions (or combina-tions) of objects. Notice how thereflection interacts with whats insidethe window. Watch for signs (insidethe window or reflected in it). Keepan eye out for interesting manne-quins, or displays being rearranged.Consider getting two windows to-gether in one photograph. Be conscious of your cropping. Asa general rule, only the windowshould in the photograph, not the restof the building. But if the buildingrelates to whats in the window, theninclude both. Pay particular attentionto converging lines caused by per- thing dark (a shadow, for example, Student photograph by Johnspective. Make sure they work with or a building) is behind you, or by Pretty man.the composition, not against it. lining yourself up with some dark ob- Several tricks will help keep you ject inside the window. Experimentout of the photograph. Stand at an with these techniques and theyll soonangle to the window so it isnt reflect- become automatic. (Note: It ising things from your direction. Or get acceptable, and often unavoidable,down low, so the reflection passes for part of you to be visible. Just tryover you. Position yourself so that not to produce a photograph thatyou line up with the frame of the win- looks like a self-portrait in a win-dow. Or stand so your reflection is dow.) It is perfectly acceptable forin a dark part of the window. This other people to be visible, either in-can be achieved by standing so some- side the window or reflected in it.178 The Photographic Eye
  • 175. EXERCISEConstructionSitesAssignment: Find any kind ofbuilding under construction (from aglass and steel skyscraper to awooden shed) and photograph it.Goal: Look for more than postsand beams-people; bulldozers;machinery; tools; heaps of dirt, stoneand metal, etc. Make sure, however,that you stick to the constructiontheme (no portraits of people whojust happen to be near a building site,for example).Tips: Dont just stand back andshoot a distant building project. If Student photograph by Lynne do shoot from a distance, makethe foreground and backgroundwork together. Try to find visual har-monies between them. Make surethat something ties them together.For example, locate lines leading tothe point of interest, and emphasizethem. Try a combination of overview anddetail shots: the silhouette of abuildings frame against the sky, abulldozer pushing a mound of earth,a hand holding a hammer, a nail orscrew in a piece of wood or metal.How do the construction workers (orcarpenters, etc.) relate to the build-ing? How does the building relate tothem and to its environment? Student photograph. Places 179
  • 176. Several distinctive features make this image unusually compelling: juxtaposition of the leaf over the face (which is bothunexpected and slightly disturbing), interplay of the textures of leaf and skin, and the penetrating eye peering at usthrough the shadows. (Student photograph by Mia Lobel.)180 The Photographic Eye
  • 177. chapter 14 People oving from photographing objects and places to photo- graphing people is likely tobe a bit unsettling. Not only must youthink about composition and ex-posure, but you must also interact withyour subject. A true portrait is farmore than just a photograph of a per-son staring into a camera — i t shouldreveal something about that personscharacter, experiences, feelings. How do you achieve that? Basically,you find ways to make the camera lessobvious, and ways to help the subjectfeel and look as natural as possible.Since you cant actually make yourcamera invisible, it will always havesome effect on the subject. That effectcan, however, be good. Once they arerelaxed, people tend to "show off" forthe camera, becoming more expressiveand energetic. But people who arentrelaxed just tend to get more and morenervous. So, your first task is to makeyour subject as comfortable aspossible. There are two ways of doing this.The first, which is especially usefulwhen youre photographing peopleyou dont know, is to set the properexposure and then keep the cameraout of the way until you see the shotyou want. Then you swing the cam-era up, focus it and "grab" the shot. Student photograph by Robert Bielk.You may even be able to focus before-hand as well. 181
  • 178. Youll get [he best results in bright light, when an aperture of f/8 or higher will give you enough depth of field so you wont have to focus too carefully. In this case, you can rely on zone focusing, focusing your lens in advance on the general area in which your subject is located. With a wide-angle lens at f/8, for example, everything between 5 and 10 feet (or between 10 feet and infinity) will be in focus. If you use this technique with strangers, be as sure as you can that you wont regret it. The best way to do that is either to ask permission or be sure you arent noticed. For exam- ple, it is not a good idea to grab a shot of a motorcycle gang without asking permission first. (It may not even be a good idea to ask permis- sion!) You should always be aware of the other persons right to privacy. A beggar on the street is not likely to consider himself a good subject for a photograph. If you cant get the shot without disturbing his self- respect, then leave him alone. Pho- tographers have earned a bad name all around the world by insulting their subjects; dont add to it. Until you develop your own in- stincts for when it is and isnt ap- propriate to grab a shot or to request permission, photograph people with whom you are comfortable, people you know, or who at least recognize you. Then you may want to try pho- tographing people you dont know, but who are from the same socialStudent photograph by Susan Hodge. background as you. Continue to move further from your cultural "home base" as your confidence and instincts improve. A camera is a wonderful tool for making contact with people you wouldnt ordinarily meet . . . but take it slowly. Although the grab shot approach182 The Photographic Eye
  • 179. is especially useful on location, it can Dont hold back, waiting for the one the "right" expression occurs.also work very well in a portrait ses- perfect shot, or youll both become Shooting several frames in quick suc-sion. The main difference is that the nervous wrecks. Just start talking and cession can help, but thats no sub-subject of a portrait session (in which shooting, like its the most natural stitute for the true photographers in-you take many photographs of a thing in the world. stinct for what Carder-Bressonsingle person) knows that you intend The most effective pace will vary named the "decisive moment." Liketo use your camera. Nonetheless, by depending on your subject and the fishermen, photographers are con-bringing the camera between you mood you want to capture. If you tinually lamenting the "one that gotonly when necessary, you can keep want a solemn, soulful expression, away." With consistent practice andthe mood relaxed and casual. Chat try to speak slowly, softly and allow a bit of luck, however, they willawhile, grab a few shots, chat some for some long pauses. Remember become few and far between.more, grab a few more shots, etc. that you may be asking your subject Lighting is of critical importance The second approach, which is to be very emotionally revealing . . . in portraits. For most purposes, theespecially useful in a photograph ses- and its only fair that you reveal best light is open shade. This may besion setting, is to place the camera on something about yourself as well. A obtained outdoors on the shady sidea tripod. Set the exposure and focal genuine exchange should be expected of a tree or building, or inside nearrange and then peek out from behind from both of you. a to talk with your subject. Stay close If, on the other hand, you want a For more dramatic effects, youto the camera if you want your sub- cheerful expression, then talk fast may want your subject to be lit morejects eyes to be looking straight and furiously until your subject gets directly. If so, pay particular atten-ahead. You may want to use a cable so caught up in your great sense of tion to the eyes. Many otherwiserelease so you wont have to try to humor (or bumbling mistakes) that good photographs are ruined becausefind the shutter while youre talking. he or she forgets about your camera. a subjects eyes were lost in harsh, A variation on this technique, (By the way, dont be afraid to make black shadows. Careful positioningwhich is probably the most com- mistakes and admit them. This can be will usually correct the problem. Ifmonly used of all, is to hold the a very effective way to loosen up a not, you may want to use a reflectorcamera in your hands the whole time. subject. You may even want to make (any white or metallic surface will doYou compose, set aperture and focus a few on purpose. Just be sure you the trick) to throw some light backand then look through the viewfinder stop making them after the first few into the shadows.and click your photos (conversing as shots, so your subject doesnt beginnormally as possible) until your sub- to think the whole session will be aject begins to look nervous. Then you waste of time.)poke your head up, make eye con- One other trick: If you cant gettact, tell a few jokes or whatever else your subject to relax and just talk, tryit takes to get your subject to relax. asking him or her to recite the alpha- The main thing to strive for in a bet. This has two useful results. First,portrait session is a comfortable pace it gets the lips moving and producesfor both you and your subject. If the a variety of expressions. Second,camera keeps clicking at regular in- everyone asked to do this startstervals, and conversation proceeds in laughing sooner or later.a steady flow, most subjects will As you practice shooting portraits,relax. Your instructions ("Move over you will begin to learn when yourthere. Look into the camera. Mow- subjects expressions will change.about a smile?") will gradually fade This is necessary if you intend tointo the background. The other per- catch them on film. Once youve seensons character will begin to surface. the expression you want, its too late You should expect to "waste" 10 or to click the shutter. You have to do more exposures before this occurs. that just a fraction of a second before People 183
  • 180. FOCAL POINT: Edward Steichen, 1879-1973 Photography was initially used with clearly etched faces surrounded to study photography and modernsimply to record visual facts. A by darkness. However, very little of painting for two years. Upon hisphotograph of a tree was successful Steichens work displays the nostalgic return to the U.S, he set up a photoif the tree was immediately recogniz- sentiments of the Pictorialists, who studio in New York City, earning aable. A landscape was successful if all also strove for a painterly quality in reputation for his skillful portraits ofthe important features were visible. their photographs. He was in fact the rich and famous. In 1905, he andA portrait was successful if it was in among the first to recognize that Alfred Stieglitz established "Galleryfocus and the subjects expression photography was a new art form, 291" in an effort to promote photog-was reasonably pleasant. Gradually, with rules, possibilities and limita- raphy as an art.photographers and the public began tions all its own. With the outbreak of World Warto demand more from this new and Steichens best photographs —such I, Steichen directed the photographicstill mysterious medium. as his portrait of Greta Garbo —are team of the Army Air Service, coor- One of the first to demonstrate images that would be unimaginable dinating an ambitious photographicphotographys full potential for ex- in any other medium. He comple- record of the war. In 1923 he re-pressive portraiture was Edward mented the starkness of black and turned to commercial photography,Steichen. The key to his achievement white photography with equally stark doing a wide range of work for manywas light. Before Steichen, portraits poses. He encouraged his subjects to leading magazines. He again appliedwere straightforward. Photographers interact directly with the camera. his photographic and managementgenerally employed soft, even light And he watched for just the right mo- skills to help record World War II,and a plain gray background. The ment to capture something of his sub- this time serving with the Navy. Frommain goal was produce a clear, well- jects essential character. His por- 1947 to 1962, Steichen was the direc-lit likeness of the subject. Steichen traits still seem very "modern." They tor of photography for the Museumchanged all that. He posed his sub- are dramatic, confident, even con- of Modern Art in New York City. Injects against black walls and used frontational. Each one is distinct and that role, he organized "The Familydramatic lighting, often allowing part memorable. of Man," a traveling exhibit designedof the face to be in shadow or other- Steichen was born in 1879 in Lux- to promote understanding and tol-wise obscured. His portraits were not embourg, one of the smallest coun- erance among the many cultures ofmere records of a persons appear- tries in Europe. One year later, he the world. Steichen died in 1973, inance, they were strong statements emigrated to the United States with Connecticut.about who that person was. his family, living first in Michigan In part, Steichens success in por- and later in Wisconsin. In 1900, attraiture was due to his training in the age of 21, he travelled to Parispainting. Much of his earlier worksuggests paintings by Rembrandt, Edward Steichen, Greta Garbo, 1928. c Sothebys Inc., 1987.184 The Photographic Eye
  • 181. People 185
  • 182. EXERCISEHandsAssignment: Photograph hands inexpressive postures or engaged in in-teresting activities. You may photograph one hand byitself, both hands of one person, or thehands of several people together. Donot include a full face with the hands,though part of a face is acceptable.Goal: Hands have attitudes, moods,habits. Look for hands that say some-thing about a person or what that per-son is doing, thinking or feeling.Tips: Look for people you knowwho have a particular gesture that istheir "signature." Alternatively, lookfor the various attitudes of hands(resigned, strong, casual, engaged in Student photograph.some task, at rest, tense) or for theirposition in relation to the body(behind the back, part way in apocket, scratching the head, holdingup the chin). Look also for howhands relate to their surroundings:hands reaching for something; in-teracting with someone elses hands;placed on somebodys shoulder;holding a baseball bat, a steeringwheel, a chess piece; opening a cardoor. In general, unless the context is im-portant, the hands should be largewithin the frame. Student photograph by Esther Suarez.186 The Photographic Eye
  • 183. EXERCISEEldersAssignment: Do a series of portraitsof old people: grandmothers, uncles,aunts, neighbors, etc.Goal: Notice that faces get very ex-pressive as they grow older. You canoften tell what kind of life a personhas led just by looking at his or herface. Try to capture something ofyour subjects whole life in yourphotographs.Tips: With the elderly, it is evenmore important than usual to getclear permission. Depending on howold and how healthy your subject is,the idea of being photographed mayseem fine, strange or unpleasant.Help your subject feel comfortableabout being photographed, before Student photograph by Kimberly S. take a single shot. If this doesntseem possible, go find another sub-ject. Dont just walk up to strangersand start photographing them. It isyour job to make the experience plea-sant and relaxing. Work at it. Student photograph by Neill Bevill. People 187
  • 184. EXERCISE -ChildrenAssignment: Photograph childrendoing things that come naturally tothem: playing, talking, sleeping,perhaps reading or daydreaming. Any child between infancy andabout 8 years old qualifies.Goal: Capture particularly childlikequalities, not just a person who hap-pens to be young.Tips: Be aware of how children res-pond to their surroundings. Wherethey are, what theyre doing, whotheyre with may be important . . .or may not. You decide. Youll probably get the best resultswith children you already know, sothey can go about their businesswithout being aware of the camera.Try your younger brothers and sis-ters, cousins, family friends, neigh-bors. If none of them is available orwilling, look for children out on thestreet, at school, in parks, etc. Never photograph children withoutgetting permission from a parent.This is especially true if you dontknow the child, but its a good idea Student photograph by Charles Stuart Kennedy III.even if you do. The main challenge is to keep thechild interested and interesting. If thechild is playing a game, encouragehim or her to tell you about it. Tryto talk to the child while youreshooting, even while youre behindcamera. You may want a parent oranother child to keep conversationgoing if its hard to talk and shoot atsame time.188 The Photographic Eye
  • 185. Student photograph.Student photograph bv Chris Lombardo People 189
  • 186. EXERCISESoft-LightPortraitAssignment: Do a series of head-and-shoulders photographs in whichthe light source is behind the subject.Goal: Produce an expressive por-trait, with soft light and no shadowson the face.Tips: In bright sunlight, have yoursubject face away from the sun. Theface will thus be in open shadow,with little variation in the lighting.Keep the background out of focus byusing a fairly large aperture. (Tryf/5.6 at 1/125 of a second as a pointof departure for this exercise.) Be careful of "burn out": whiteareas that are so bright they lose alldetail. Though youll probably dobest if your subject does not wearwhite, with proper exposure thisshould not be a problem. Student photograph. Get in close. Frame the subjectcarefully. Stick to the head andshoulders for the most part, thoughan expressive hand is a perfectly ac-ceptable addition.Student photograph by VinnyRodziewicz.190 The Photographic Eye
  • 187. EXERCISESide-LitPortraitAssignment: Do a series of portraitsin which the subject is strongly litfrom one side.Goal: Side-lighting tends to bedramatic, and is often harsh, espe-cially in very "contrasty" lighting.However, it can produce a particularmood and can be subtle when eitherthe contrast or the overall light valueis low. Control the lighting and ex-posure to get the effect you want.Tips: For best results, use early morning or late afternoon light. You may want to shoot indoors near a window, so the light comes in a single Student photograph by Don Ho Fuller. shaft. You can then place your sub-ject so the light strikes precisely whereyou want it to. Bracket your ex-posures to get the effect you want. You may want the sidelit area tobe the highlight of otherwise bal-anced lighting, or to have thesidelighting be the only source. In ad-dition, experiment with placing thesubject so the lighted side faces thecamera, and so the shaded side does. Be careful of losing texture in high-lighted areas. In the final print, youshould be able to see pores on thebrightest part of the face. Expose forthe highlights. In rare cases it can be very effec-tive to have the whole face in shadow,;/the background is adequately lit sofeatures are clear. Student photograph by Kristen McCauley. People 191
  • 188. EXERCISEProp PortraitAssignment: Photograph peoplewith "props" —tools, sports equip-ment, musical instruments or anyother object with which they caninteract.Goal: Props have two uses for thephotographer. First, they can help asubject relax. Second, they can tellthe viewer something about the sub-ject. Try to select props that areuseful in both of these ways. Tips: People who are uncomfor- table just standing and looking at a camera, even if you get them talking, tend to relax quite a bit if you give them something to hold or look at. Similarly, you can often produce a very revealing portrait by placing your subject in a familiar environ- ment: in his or her own room, with personal possessions around, at a desk or workplace, in the locker room or gym, etc. While it is often helpful if the sub-ject can actually be using the prop in some way, be aware of how that af- fects the face. If its obscured, youmay have to get the subject to look Simple elements, potent image - a fine example of "less is more." What doesup when you actually click the shut- this photograph say to you? What is it about? (Student photograph byter. You may, of course, be able to Christina Faiella.)position the subject (or yourself) sothis isnt necessary. Anything familiar to the subject isacceptable: a scarf, telephone, guitar,book or baseball bat. Something assimple as a chair may do the trick.Use your imagination, and dontforget to ask your subject for ideas. (Note: Try to t h i n k of morecreative props than cameras. One ortwo shots of someone holding acamera are fine, but no more.) 92 The Photographic Eye
  • 189. Student photograph by Scott Hughes.Student photograph by Michael Cothran People 193
  • 190. EXERCISEDetail PortraitAssignment: Do a series of "por-traits" in which the subjects face isnot shown. Instead, crop in on ex-pressive details of objects that relatein some way to the subject. (Part ofthe face may be shown, but not allof it.)Goal: As in the prop portraitassignments, you will be using objectsto help convey a persons character.The only rule is that you must not in-clude the full face. Youll probably want to photo-graph an object the subject is eitherwearing or holding. This is not re-quired, however.Tips: Crop in on something thattypifies the person youre photo-graphing: patches on a favorite pairof jeans, a piece of jewelry, glasses,track shoes slung over a shoulder, apurse or handbag, a baseball, a book. Keep in mind that an empty pairof shoes, for example, or a notebookby itself, or a wallet, or a coffee mugare all perfectly acceptable. The sub-ject does not have to be in thephotograph at all. Student photograph.194 The Photographic Eye
  • 191. EXERCISEMood PortraitAssignment: Produce a series ofportraits that clearly express moods.Goal: Get more than just a pictureof somebody. Capture a particularfacial expression or posture to con-vey something of what your subjectis feeling. Try to make the viewer feelthe same way.Tips: There are a lot of moods tochoose from. Here are a few: hap-piness, sadness, curiosity, contempla-tion, boredom, excitement, friendli-ness, hostility, arrogance, delight,fear, satisfaction, a n t i c i p a t i o n ,anger, patience, concentration,uncertainty, frustration. Most of us have certain expressionsor gestures that are unique, some par- Student photograph by John Shearer.ticular way of saying who we are. Ifyou think of someone as being jolly,how do you express that? Whatabout solemn? Frazzled? Calm?Excited? You might try getting several peo-ple to interact together. Or gosomeplace where theyre likely to dothat on their own, such as a footballgame. People in groups often dontreact the same way at the same time,so you may get several moods in oneshot. Alternatively, you might cropin on one person in the group and letthe viewer imagine the rest of thescene. Be selective. Surroundings may behelpful or distracting. Often, just asubjects face w i l l be e n o u g h .However, part of the subjects bodymay also be expressing the mood. Ifthat helps make a better photograph,put it in. If it doesnt, leave it out. Student photograph. People 195
  • 192. Student photograph by Monte Paulsen.196 The Photographic Eye
  • 193. chapter 15 Putting It All Together hotographers may be dividedP into two or more sides on any n u m b e r of issues:manual vs. automatic cameras;35mm vs. large format film; B&W vs.color; darkroom manipulation vs."straight" prints. One of the mostdivisive issues concerns the "ultimatetest" of a photographers skill. AnselAdams, not surprisingly, believedthat landscapes deserved that title.Others have argued that the ultimatetest is portraiture, photojournalismor advertising. Still others have sug-gested that plain old "streetphotography" —any photography ofstrangers in public spaces-tests aphotographer like nothing else. After all, landscape photographerscan spend days taking a shot. Portrait essentially variations on "street Student photograph by Sheriphotographers are helped along by photography." They will require you McHenry.their subjects. Photojournalists can to apply aspects of all three previouscount on automatic viewer interest. sets of exercises —things, places and the environment or an object in it.And advertising photographers have people —all at once. As you attempt Some random grouping of peoplecrowds of assistants and a small for- to do so, you may be dismayed at and things that is aesthetically pleas-tune in lighting equipment at their your lack of control. People moving ing, emotionally powerful or intellec-disposal. this way and that, backgrounds that tually interesting. The second trick is The street photographer must only distract from your intended sub- to be ready to catch that magic onmake do with an instantaneous j e c t , self-consciousness about film. There are two essential rules forresponse to an unpredictable oppor- photographing strangers may all in- achieving that objective.tunity, must depend on subjects who terfere with your artistic vision. If so, Rule #1: Adjust as many cameramay be violently opposed to being relax. Part of the fun of this kind of settings in advance as possible. First,photographed, cannot assume any photography is being out of control. decide on a shutter speed that willviewer interest, and must work solo, The trick is to remain alert and produce the effect you want: stop ac-generally with inadequate equipment. watch for the "magic." Two people tion or blur. Second, check out the The exercises in this section are interacting. Someone interacting with light with your meter before you 197
  • 194. begin photographing. If the light is FOCAL POINT: Henri Cartier-Bressonfairly consistent, then set your aper-ture for an average reading. Adjustit for a particular shot only if you H e n r i Cartier-Bresson (pro- Though not the first to breakhave time. (More often than not, nounced kar-tiay brays-son) devoted through this stylistic barrier, Cartier-youll be able to produce an accep- himself to the challenge of preserv- Bresson unquestionably did so withtable print, even if the negative is ing "life in the act of living" — and he the most flair and passion. Recogniz-darker or lighter than it should be.) succeeded. In the process, he virtually ing that a small camera permitted himIf your subject is likely to be difficult invented what has since come to be to be unnoticed, he learned to "grab"for any reason (such as being shy or the defining characteristic of events as they happened. What henervous), then try to focus your lens photography: its ability to capture a lost in image quality and composi-in advance as well. Simply guess at fleeting instant. tion, he gained in the startling emo-the distance and use the distance scale From its beginnings, photography tional impact of the image. Rather on the focusing ring or aim at was limited by its technical require- than viewing the world as a detached something near the subject and focus ments. Equipment was large and observer, Cartier-Bresson seemed to on that. Using a small aperture will bulky. Film reacted slowly to light, throw himself into the midst of help ensure accuracy. Finally be sure requiring subjects to remain sta- things. And, through his photo- to advance your film before you try tionary for exposures of 15 minutes graphs that experience could be to grab the shot. (Youd be amazed or more. Unless they confined them- shared by anyone. at how often photographers forget to selves to panoramic street scenes and Cartier-Bresson coined the term do this.) were content with blurs in place of "decisive moment" to describe what Rule #2: Scan the entire frame for people, early photographers were he looked for as he explored the"interference." The most common simply unable to pursue their craft world with his camera. Rather than flaw in "street" photographs is a tree without attracting (or requiring) at- projecting his ideas or interpretationsgrowing out of someones head . . . tention. As a result, photographing onto his subjects —as Ansel Adams, or some variation on that theme. A people, from portraiture to news Edward Weston and others would face that disappears into a matching coverage, tended to be a rather advocate — C a r t i e r - B r e s s o n andbackground, legs and arms poking in solemn affair. Subjects would be others in his "school" of photography from the borders of the frame and ex- strapped into their chairs, braced watched for that split second when alltra heads in odd places are additional upright from behind or asked to the elements of a scene fell into placeexamples of common interference stand very still. on their own and "clicked." It was aproblems. These problems can almost The technology of photography radical departure, and one that is stillalways be avoided with one quick gradually began to change. Cameras hotly debated. Without question,glance around the frame and, if became smaller and films became however, the "decisive moment" ap-necessary, a slight shift in viewing faster. Despite these developments, proach has resulted in many remark-angle before clicking the shutter. This the approach of photographers to able images and profoundly affectedprocedure should become just as their craft remained slow and solemn. our understanding both of photog-automatic as checking the light meter Portraits still involved sitting up raphy and of the world that itor focusing the lens. In fact, it is the straight and staring into the un- thing you should be doing all the friendly eye of the camera. Group Cartier-Bresson was born intime youre looking through the photographs tended to convey the France in 1908. He studied in Parisviewfinder. Once you have your shot impression of actors posing patient- and Cambridge, England. He con-all lined up, youll almost always have ly on stage. Street scenes seemed centrated on painting until 1931,time (it only takes a fraction of a se- more concerned with buildings, when he began working as a freelancecond) to check out the edges of your weather and vehicles than with peo- photographer in Europe, Africa andsubject and the borders of your frame ple. A technical requirement had Mexico. He later worked with Jeanjust before you click the shutter. evolved into a style. Renoir, making motion pictures.198 The Photographic Eye
  • 195. 1908-During World War II he served in the Henri Cartier-Bresson, Brussels, 1937.French army, was captured by theGermans, escaped and joined theResistance. In 1946, Carder-Bressontravelled to New York City for an ex-hibit of his photographs at theMuseum of Modern Art. Whilethere, he helped establish Magnum,which has long been one of the mostprestigious photo agencies. Putting It AII Together 199
  • 196. EXERCISEFairsAssignment: Photograph a publicgathering that fits the general idea ofa "fair" — any event where people gettogether for festivities, entertain-ment, games and/or food.Goal: People tend to go to in-teresting extremes at fairs: dressingup as clowns; wearing costumes fromdifferent countries or periods inhistory; dancing, eating, playinggames and generally having a goodtime with exceptional enthusiasm.Try to capture this spirit in yourphotographs.Tips: You may interpret "fair" toinclude festivals, amusement parks,carnivals, parades, cattle auctions,folk dances, craft shows, circuses,horse shows and any other similarevents. Try to take your photographs out-doors, rather than indoors. (Shootingan indoor crowd scene with evensophisticated flash equipment is noeasy job.) Think of ways to get right in themidst of the action. For example, youmight get out on a ride, such as aroller coaster, and photograph peo- Student photograph by Bruce Senior.ple on it. Try shooting at slow shut-ter speeds, for blurs. Get up in a fer-ris wheel and shoot down.200 The Photographic Eye
  • 197. Student photograph by Amy Walsh. Putting It All Together 201
  • 198. EXERCISEOpen MarketsAssignment Photograph any kindof outdoor market, from a large"flea market" to a single vendor witha cart.Goal: Look for photo opportuni-ties among the merchandise itself,and among the people selling it. Try to catch people in relation tomerchandise, rather than j u s t astraight portrait of someone whohappens to be selling (or buying)something. Look for monev or mer-chandise passing between people.Tips: Notice the sizes and shapesof various vegetables, fruits or othermerchandise, the way they are ar-ranged, the patterns they create.Watch how the vendors interact withtheir customers. Are they bored?Energetic? Friendly? This is another broad category, souse your imagination. The cornergrocer is okay, so is a street vendor, ayard or garage sale, a fish market, aflea market, anywhere someone isoffering a service for sale (a shoeshinestall, for example), a sidewalk artshow, a newspaper stand or someoneselling souvenir T-shirts from a cart. Once again, remember to ask Student photograph by Dennis Martin.permission.202 The Photographic Eye
  • 199. EXERCISERainAssignment: Do a series ofphotographs of a rainy day.Goal: Explore how objects, peopleand the earth interact with rain. Whatmoods does rain provoke? How doesit change the way people and thingslook and act?Tips: A light drizzle is generally bet-ter than a heavy downpour. Look forhow the light is striking the rain itself.Especially if its raining and sunny atsame time, the results can be stun-ning. (You might try using a flash tohighlight the rain. Just be sure tokeep it dry!) You can shoot from under cover:standing under an awning or in adoorway, sitting in your house or ina car and shooting out a window(open or shut, wiped clean orstreaked). If you do choose to go right intothe rain, be sure to protect yourcamera. You can use a laundry bag,for example, with holes cut for thelens and viewfinder, taped to thecamera. Or, if its not too windy, youcan just keep your camera under an Student photograph by Steve Whiteside.umbrella. Its a good idea to use alens hood, to keep the lens dry.Moisture on the lens can be a goodeffect, but use it thoughtfully. Keep shooting after it stops rain-ing. Look for puddles, objects andpeople dripping droplets clinging toleaves, etc. Breaking the Rules 203
  • 200. EXERCISEPlaygroundsAssignment: Photograph childrenin action at a playground.Goal: Try to get children actuallyplaying — h i t t i n g a ball, upside downon a jungle-gym, using the swings orslide, etc. Avoid straight portraits ofchildren who just happen to be at aplayground.Tips: Stay around long enough sothe children get used to you. It isperfectly acceptable to ask a child (orseveral) to pose for you — j u s t try tomake sure the photograph doesntlook posed. Encourage the child tomove around in the general areayouve selected. Offer suggestions,but let the child come up with someideas too. Student photograph by Matthew Scerbak.204 The Photographic Eye
  • 201. Student photograph by VinnieRodziewicz. Putting It A/1 Together 205
  • 202. EXERCISESports EventsAssignment: Photograph anysports event, outdoors if at all possi-ble (so you wont need to use a flash).Goal: P h o t o g r a p h s of sportsevents are very common. Unfor-tunately, most of them are prettybad. Your job is to get some goodones.Tips: Be sure the center of interestis clearly isolated, either by cropping or by using shallow depth-of-field, or both. Youll generally get the bestresults by moving in close and/or shooting from a low or high point ofview. Be very aware of whats goingon in the background. In group sports, such as football,try to get a mixture of individual andgroup shots. Alternate among oneplayer, the team, one fan, the sidelinecrowd, etc. Look at faces. Look at what bodiesare doing: the strain of a weight-lifters arms, for example. The mostimportant information and expres-sion is not necessarily in the face. Try to give particular attention toa specific quality of each sport. With Student photograph by Janes, it might be the impact ofcollision. With running, the solitude tension before a player goes in, the want to do a distant shot of the gameor tension of the final yards. With elation or disappointment after- and spectators. Remember to turntennis, concentration or stretching wards. Play with stop-action and around and photograph people.for a difficult return. Try to get a feel blurs. This is a good opportunity to Catch the game in their expressions.for what is special about the sport use a telephoto or zoom lens, if you Finally, look for objects of theeven before you start shooting. It have one. You might also get some sport lying around (helmets, rackets,may help if youve had experience in interesting effects with a wide-angle shoes, etc.).the sport. If you havent, try talking lens. (Just be careful not to get run (Note: If you do photograph an in-to someone who has. over!) door event, refer to the Appendix for Also look for the endless waiting Notice atmospheric conditions. If information on "pushing" film andaround on the bench, the building the weather is interesting, you may using a flash.)206 The Photographic Eye
  • 203. Student photograph by Anne Thorstvedt.Student photograph by Karen Demuth. Putting It All Together 207
  • 204. A wonderful hodgepodge like this is one of the effects that can be produced by photomontage. (Student photograph by Kira Deyss.)208 The Photographic Eye
  • 205. chapter 16 Breaking the Rules hroughout this book, you have been urged, at every possible opportunity, tobend and break the "rules." There isa very simple reason for that.Photography, like any art, mustevolve to remain healthy. And allevolution requires m u t a t i o n s —experiments that break away from"business as usual." For your own photographic styleand insights to evolve, you must befree to record the world as you see it.If you see some aspect of the worlddifferently than the rest of us, thenour rules wont be of much use toyou. If some aspect of the world haschanged, then the rules of the pastwont be of much use to any of us. As each of us breaks the rules to Student photograph by Helario Reyna.suit our own inclinations and needs,most of those same rules are likely to break rules just to break them, the if you make a point of challengingremain at the center. They will con- thrill isnt likely to last very long. yourself as you go along. Be espe-tinue to guide future generations of Sooner or later, it all begins to seem cially careful to challenge any habitsphotographers, with slight shifts over like random shots in the dark. Stick you develop. Are they productive?long periods of time. You are now to the rules until you have a good Are they causing you to miss oppor-part of that process, so its time for reason not to, and your results will tunities? Do other people respondyou to take your turn at breaking a probably be more interesting. For ex- well to them? While you cant alwaysfew rules. The exercises in this section ample, one common mistake made judge your work by the response ofwill get you started. After that, the by both photographers and other ar- others (many great artists were re-only limit is your imagination. tists is to confuse novelty for insight. jected at first), it can be helpful to Naturally there are rules for break- Fortunately, time tends to sort compare notes with them from timeing rules, too. (You may feel free to things out quite nicely. The pure to time. If you cant make any sensebreak these as well, of course.) novelties get tossed aside, and the of their response, you may have a Rule #1: Break a rule for a good true insights become lasting treasures. problem.reason. While it can feel liberating to You can simplify the sorting process 209
  • 206. Rule #2: Break as few rules as FOCAL POINT: Diane Arbus, 1923-71possible. For any photograph, try tostick to as many of the establishedrules as you can. If you decide to Though not the most experimental "voyeur" —a peeping-tom using herbreak a compositional rule, try to of photographers, Diane Arbus was camera to pry into other peoples sadfollow the rules for correct exposure. most noted, and often criticized, for lives. She, however, believed thatIf you want to break an exposure breaking the rules of what is and "there are things which nobodyrule, use conventional composition. is not an appropriate subject. For would see unless I photographedIf you cant get the results you want, Arbus, the camera was a tool for ex- them." To her credit, she workedthen — and only then — break another ploring "the forbidden" —especially long and hard to earn the trust andrule. If that doesnt work, try break- people who, for various reasons, cooperation of her subjects beforeing one more. If, instead, you break were not "normal." She sought out she aimed her camera at them.all the rules at once, youre likely to twins, giants, midgets, outcasts and Arbus was born in New York Cityend up with chaos that no one else eccentrics, and photographed them in 1923. After studying painting andwill understand, or want to under- just as they were. Her photographs fashion illustration, Arbus becamestand. Dont forget that photography tend to be profoundly disturbing, to interested in photography. Beginningis a language. If you want to be raise questions and doubts, perhaps in the early 1940s, she and her hus-understood, you cant make up all even to provoke fear. band ran a fashion photographyyour own words and grammar. Arbus also broke many rules of studio, which began by doing promo- composition and technique. Her pho- tional photographs for her fathers Variations: Another way of break- tographs tend to be very stark, with fur and womens clothing store. In ing the rules is to combine several few of the comforting distractions of 1957, after years of increasing photographs into a single image, or conventional composition. Her sub- frustration with the world of com-merge photos and text. You could jects often stand right at the center mercial photography, she quit. Overmanipulate a photographic image by of an otherwise empty frame and the next decade, she devoted herselfdistorting it or by adding color with simply stare at the viewer. Legs and to photographing people on thepaints or markers. (See Appendix 3 arms are often "cut off by the fringes of American society. After anfor additional ideas along this line.) borders, so they look unnatural or exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art In recent years, traditional no- awkward. If the available light was in 1967, she became something of ations of what constitutes a "correct" lacking, she would often use a sim- celebrity and inspired many im-photograph have been largely aban- ple camera-mounted flash, making itators. She continued to photographdoned. Though there is real value in no effort to disguise the light from it. people who didnt "fit" into main-the purity and integrity of a Though her work may at first seem stream society. However, the temper-"straight" print, photographers (like sloppy, her admirers argue that it is ament that enabled her to communi-all artists) must be free to experiment perfectly suited to the unusual sub- cate so well with them eventuallyand expand their horizons. Without jects she chose to photograph. took its toll. Arbus committed suicidethis freedom, any art will become Because her style and subject mat- in 1971, at the age of 48. Her laststagnant and lifeless. In the follow- ter were such a radical departure project was a series of portraits ofing exercise, you will be invited to from established photographic tradi- the mentally retarded whom she de-expand your horizons a bit, to break tions, Arbus was extremely contro- scribed as "enveloped in innocence."a few rules and see what happens. It versial. Her critics considered her ais up to you to decide if this processoffers fresh insights and new possi-bilities. 210 The Photographic Eye
  • 207. Diane Arbus, Identical Twins, 1966. c Sothebys Inc., 1987. Breaking the Rules 211
  • 208. EXERCISENightAssignment: Do a series of photo-graphs outdoors at night.Goal: By now you should have agood idea of how the camera re-sponds to variations in daylight. Howdoes it respond to the night? Yourtask is to find this out.Tips: For best results, select a loca-tion with some artificial source oflight. Streetlights, car headlights,lighted windows of a house or otherbuilding will ail work well. The mooncan work, but it requires good tim-ing, luck and patience. Take some time to find a subjectthat is interesting enough to deservea lot of your time. Unless youre verylucky, youll need to do a consider-able amount of experimenting to geta single photograph that is "justright." Be patient and creative. This is one situation in which ahand-held meter can be very helpful.If you dont own one (or cant bor-row one), try shooting at f/5.6 forabout 1 minute to start. (Use a stopwatch to keep track of your time.)Then bracket in both directions: 2minutes, 30 seconds, 15 seconds, etc. Remember that doubling the time camera up on a tripod. Place your Student photograph by Trevor(from 1 minute to 2 minutes) will subject carefully within the frame. Bredenkamp.have basically the same effect as Open the shutter, using the "B" set-opening the lens one stop (from f/5.6 ting and a fairly small aperture (tryto f/4). However, at very slow shut- 178). Stand behind the subject andter speeds, the ratio is not accurate, t u r n on the flashlight. Move thedue to what is called "reciprocity flashlight quickly along the edges offailure." Basically, this means that the subject, aiming it so the light isyoull have to guess a lot. So be sure visible to the camera. After a fewto experiment with a wide range of seconds (try 15 to start), turn off theexposures. flashlight and close the shutter. You might also try using a small Repeat the same procedure at dif-("penlight") flashlight to "draw" your ferent shutter speeds.subject. Heres how to do it: Set your212 The Photographic Eye
  • 209. Student photograph by John Dean.Student photograph by TrevorBredenkamp. Breaking the Rules 213
  • 210. EXERCISEMonotoneAssignment: Do a series ofphotographs with a very limitedrange of values: black on black, whiteon white, or gray on gray. This assignment is similar to the"eggs" assignment, with two impor-tant differences: 1) variations in valuecaused by shadows, highlights, etc.should be avoided as much as possi-ble, and 2) any tone is acceptable (notjust white). In addition, you are notrequired to photograph your subjectagainst a background. You mayprefer to crop in so the subject fillsthe frame. The only rule is that theoverall tone of the photographshould be white, black or one shadeof gray. Student photograph by Helario Reyna.Goal: A contrasty print, with a fullvalue range (from black, throughvarious grays, to white) is generallydesirable. However, limiting value toonly one tone (black, gray or white)can sometimes be very effective. Finda subject that lends itself to this treat-ment and make it work.Tips: Proper exposure is vital,especially if the main tone is black orwhite. Meter off your hand or a graycard. Remember to bracket yourshots, just to be on the safe side. Possible subjects include a blackcat on a black chair, an arrangementof plain white paper, a white chair ona white porch, a black car on a black-top road, a pear on a wooden tabletop (both of which would show up asgray), a straw hat on a beach, etc. Student photograph by Jack Backus. For white on white, you may wantto overexpose a bit, which will lighten your subject doesnt just disappear. what kind of gray is dominant andany gray or black areas. For black on With gray on gray, you may want a what else is in the, you may want to underexpose normal exposure, or one that is Experiment.(to darken gray areas), but be sure slightly light or dark, depending on214 The Photographic Eye
  • 211. Student photograph by Dave Hornback. Breaking the Rules 215
  • 212. EXERCISESilhouettesAssignment: Photograph an object orperson as a silhouette.Goal: Make sure that the silhouettedfigure makes sense as a silhouette,that its clear and distinct. In addi-tion, be very aware of negative space,especially if the figure is entirelywithin the frame of your photograph.Tips: This assignment is difficultbecause youll be shooting an objectagainst the sky. As a result, your lightmeter will get very confused. The"point of departure" setting is no helpbecause you dont want a normallyexposed image: the figure should beblack against a white sky. So, take a meter reading off thesky and then open your lens up twostops wider than indicated by themeter. For example, if the meter in-dicates f/16, shoot at f/8 instead.(Remember, the meter will want thesky to be gray, which is not what youwant.) Bracket a few stops in bothdirections to see what effect that has. Try to clearly isolate your subject,unless other details work well with it.Good subjects include trees, people,playground equipment, machinery, Student photograph by Darrell Converse.objects with holes in them that allowsome light to show through. Avoidplain rectangular shapes like abuilding or door, since they donttend to produce interestingsilhouettes.216 The Photographic Eye
  • 213. Student photograph by LynneMattielli.Student photograph by Jay DavidBlumenfeld. Breaking the Rules 217
  • 214. EXERCISEGrain &DiffusionAssignment: Use ISO 3200 film(for enhanced grain) with some formof diffuser over your lens to producea very "soft" image.Goal: To experiment with the ef-fects produced by deliberately avoid-ing crisp focus and lighting.Tips: There are a number of waysto diffuse the light (and with it theimage) coming through your lens.You can use a conventional fog filter,available at modest cost at manycamera stores. Or you can shootthrough textured glass — such as ashower door, an antique window, ora crystal serving dish (ask your momfor permission). If theres a store intown that sells glass, you might havean interesting piece cut to a usablesize. (Tape the edges and handle withcare!) Another option is to stretch apiece of plastic wrap over your lens,possibly smearing it with petroleumjelly or spraying it with water. Tryusing a nylon stocking or a piece oflace in the same way (without thepetroleum jelly). Or you might squirtsome dishwashing liquid on a nor-mal window and shoot through that. Focus on your subject, measuring This photograph combines grain and blurred motion to produce a verythe distance to it if necessary. Bear in moody effect. Student photograph.mind that larger apertures will in-crease the diffusion effect and are Variations: You might try using atherefore preferable. Also, be sure no very slow shutter speed (between 15direct light is striking your diffuser, and 4) and either enticing your sub-as that will bring out the screen tex- ject to move or hand-holding theture and obscure your subject. camera to blur the image a bit and further soften it.218 The Photographic Eye
  • 215. As this photograph demonstrates, grain can be a highly effective tool for conveying certain kinds of emotions ormoods. How would you describe the mood in this image? (Student photograph by Amy Shafer.) Breaking the Rules 219
  • 216. EXERCISEDoubleExposureAssignment: Combine two imagesinto a single photograph either bydouble-exposing a single frame offilm or by using two separate nega-tives to produce one p r i n t .Goal: Strive for a unified effect.The trick to a double-exposed photo-graph is to achieve visual coherence — an image that makes sense to theviewer. This does not mean that theimage needs to be entirely clear, butit should be more than a chaoticjumble of lines, light and shadow(unless, of course, thats the effectyou want).Tips: If you are creating your im-age in the camera, the simplest wayto proceed is to shoot one frame asusual, making a mental note or, pref-erably, a rough sketch of the image,noting light and dark areas. If yourcamera has a double-exposure fea-ture, use it. Otherwise, hold in thefilm-release button while you cockthe shutter (i.e., wind the film asusual, though it shouldnt actually The ghostly figure in this photograph is one of the intriguing effects possiblemove). Experiment with various ex- with double-exposure. (Student photograph by Anne Nowak.)posure combinations. If your secondimage is in a very dark area of your negative holder or print them sepa- posure, and then cover the other halffirst image, you may get a good rately. Again, you will have to exper- for your second shot — but skill andresult by using a normal exposure for iment to get the right exposure practice are required to blend the twoboth. Otherwise, try under-exposing combination. With the second ap- images successfully. (This works bet-both by one stop (or doubling the proach, you must remember that any ter on larger format cameras.)ISO number). As always, bracketing white areas of the first negative will A "ghost" effect can be producedis the safest way to ensure a success- print black and nothing from the by setting the camera on a tripod,ful result. After completing one dou- second negative can be printed in shooting one shot of a model (orble-exposure, wind the film forward those areas. other subject) at half the normal ex-as usual and try another. posure, and then removing the To produce a double exposure in Variations: It is also possible to use model and shooting a second imagethe darkroom, you may either sand- a piece of black mat to cover half of (at the same exposure).wich two negatives together in the the lens while making your first ex-220 The Photographic Eye
  • 217. EXERCISEPhoto-CopyPhotosAssignment: Select a print youhave already made and "interpret" itwith a photo-copy machine.Goal: This is an experiment inprint manipulation — breaking downthe clarity of an image to create amore impressionistic effect.Tips: The basic procedure is verysimple: place the print face-down ina photo-copy machine and run offone copy. Then copy the copy. Thencopy the copy of the copy, and so on,until you get an effect you like. How-ever, not all prints will work well forthis process. Generally, a fairly "con-trasty" original will yield betterresults than one that is either verydark or predominantly gray. Youmay also have to tinker with thedarkness control on the copier toproduce the effect you want. In addi-tion, higher quality paper will giveyou a cleaner image. If you have access to a high-techcopier, you can experiment with theexposure settings (try "photo," ifavailable) to see how they affect thefinal result. One other experimentalprocedure, which works on any cop-ier, is to slip your hand in under thecover and move your "original"(which may be a copy of a copy)around on the glass — just slightly! - while it is being copied. (Do notopen the cover for this procedure, asthe bright light is hard on the eyes.) Student photographs. Breaking The Rules 221
  • 218. EXERCISEPanelPanoramaAssignment Produce a series of Tips: Unless otherwise instructed Line up your shots carefully so theyprints, shot sequentially, in a line or by your teacher, you w i l l have to de- all connect at the edges. Your finalcircle from t h e same spot, and cide how many images to combine in prints should be fairly small (i.e.,mount them together to form a sin- your panorama (between three and 3/2" x 5"), so the final result wontgle composite image. five are recommended). Before you be utterly enormous. Take care that begin shooting, check each area of the density of all your final prints isGoal: Select a location that will en- your location to be sure that a single consistent.sure each frame will be visually inter- aperture (preferably small, for goodesting. None should simply f i l l depth of field) can be used through-space. Each image should contribute out the sequence. The basic proce-some impression or visual informa- dure is to shoot, t u r n slightly, shoottion to the whole sequence. again, and so on — ideally without moving from your starting point.222 The Photographic Eye
  • 219. Variations: Shoot a sequence at quilt. Follow David Hockncys ex-different times of day, making a note ample (see Appendix 2) and shootof where each image ends, so you lots of separate images. Have some-can later begin your next image at one model for you in a different posethat point. (A street scene offers in- in each image. Include a word interesting possibilities for this ap- each frame so the whole sequenceproach.) Break the pattern by contains a phrase or sentence. Standmoving forward and back, shifting in one place and shoot forward, backyour point of view as you proceed and to each side. (The possibilitiesthrough the sequence. Combine ver- are endless.)tical and horizontal formats. Over-lap the edges of your panels andmount them as a sort of patchwork Theres a person in this mom, though no one is in sight. Every object, from the rumpled bed to the ragged posters, not only tells us whose room this is but also allows us to feel that persons presence. Is this somebody you know? (Student photograph by Aindrea Brennan.) Breaking The Rules 223
  • 220. EXERCISEText& ImageAssignment: Combine one ormore photographs w i t h words — apoem, song, quotation, excerpt froma book, h a n d w r i t t e n note, etc.Goal: Photography and the writtenword have enjoyed a long partner-ship, especially in magazines and ad-vertising. Photographs may illustratea text, or text may be employed toclarify or comment on a photo-graphic image. The goal of this exer-cise is to explore the various ways inwhich these two forms of expressioncan be used together to produce ameaningful combined effect. Tips: Try to avoid an overly literal result, with the photograph and text merely saying the same thing in dif- ferent ways. Ideally, each will en- hance and expand the impression conveyed by the other. Just as some song writers begin with a lyric and others first compose a melody, you may choose to select(or write) your text first and then cre-ate an image to go w i t h it — or theother way around. Keeping the textshort will usually (but not always)enhance the overall effect. (Haiku, astyle of short poems developed in Ja-pan, are an excellent choice.) What-ever form of text you choose, be sure Student photograph by Amy will actually work well with a pho-tographic image. (Your favorite song p r i n t , or to place it on the mat or a make a very effective exhibit.) Orwill not necessarily give you much to separate sheet of paper. you might want to work together towork w i t h . ) illustrate a long poem, a song, a Unless otherwise instructed by Variations: You may wish to try short-story, or a portion of a bookyour teacher, you will have to decide various forms of collaboration. For you all admire. Alternatively, youif the text is to be typed or handwrit- example, t h e entire class might select might collaborate individually withten — and whether to place it in the a topic of shared interest and pro- students in a w r i t i n g course —image area of the photograph, to duce a series of text/image combina- matching your photographs w i t hleave white space for it below t h e tions to explore together. (This could their poetry, for example.224 The Photographic Eye
  • 221. In this example, an excerpt from a poem by Rumi (a medieval Sufi) is written directly on the print. Noticehow the two play off each other, suggesting deeper meanings and hidden connections. (Student photo byLaura Mitchell.) . . . Breaking The Rules 225
  • 222. Student photograph by Marc McCoy.226 The Photographic Eye
  • 223. appendix 1 Processing SAFETY NOTE: Many chemicals used in photographic processing can cause skin irritation and possible lung problems. Gloves and longs should be used (o protect the skin from direct contact with chemicals during mixing and working w i t h photographic chemicals. Proper darkroom ventilation (from 10-20 room-air changes per hour) is essential to safeguard the lungs against chemical dusts and vapors.PROCESSING FILMTools• Canister OpenerThe first step in processing film is topry open the canister to remove thefilm. There are special tools designedfor this, but a common can openerwill do just fine.• Developing TankThe developing tank is a containerthat is light-light (i.e., that no lightcan enter). It is equipped with a reelthat prevents the film from stickingto itself during processing. Develop-ing tanks come in a variety of sizes,materials, and styles. The most com-mon version is the traditional metaltank with a metal reel. With this ver- Second, the stop bath "freezes" the of the grain each produces — t h esion, you must slide the film into the developing action. Then the fixer degree to which the silver compoundsreel prior to processing it. More changes the chemical compounds, so cluster together to form black lumps.modern versions are made of plastic they will no longer be sensitive to Other factors, such as developingand offer innovative design features, light. Finally, water washes away all time and contrast may also besuch as a mechanism for cranking the traces of the active chemicals, so they in, a wider mouth for pouring can no longer react with each other. Any crystals that received lightchemicals in and out, etc. Any tank Film Developer: There are many during an exposure begin turningwill work well, once you learn how different kinds of film developers, black when immersed in the develop-to use it properly. though the basic chemistry remains ing solution. This produces a negative the same. Developing agents (with image of the photographed subject.• Chemicals names like metol, phenidone and hy- The longer the crystals are immersed,There are four stages to processing droquinone) intensify the reaction the blacker they become.B&W film: developing, stopping, fix- caused by light, producing black Thus, lengthening the developinging and washing. First, the developer metallic silver within exposed silver time will increase a negatives con-activates light-sensitive silver crystals crystals. The main difference between trast, since the crystals that receivedin the emulsion (a gelatin coating). two developers is usually the quality a lot of light will get very black. The 227
  • 224. crystals that received no light will not more quickly. The key differences be affected. Those that received a lit- between the two is speed and, of tle light will become increasingly dark course, price. as the developing continues, produc- Wash: Film must be thoroughly ing a lighter print. If the developing washed. Chemical traces left on the goes on too long, the result will be a film by improper washing will inter- print in which the contrast will be ex- fere with the quality of your prints tremely high and everything will look and may damage the negative as well. • Negative Clips overexposed. The quality of the water you use is When youve finished processing Shortening the developing time will also important. Most water that is your film, youll need to hang it up reduce contrast, since even the safe to drink should be fine for to dry. Once again, there are special crystals that received the most light washing films (as well as for diluting metal clips made for this purpose . . . will only have time to become gray. chemicals and washing prints). and, once again, you dont need Stop Bath: Since virtually all I f , however, you repeatedly them. Plain old wooden clothespins developers only work well in an discover streaks, smears, speckles or work just as well. Whichever you use, alkaline (non-acidic) solution, the other curiosities on the films surface, place one clip on each end of the film, developing process will be halted if try washing a few rolls in bottled or using one to hang the top up, and the the solution becomes acidic. Thats distilled water. If the curiosities go other to weight the bottom down so precisely what stop bath does. away, then your tap water is probably the film doesnt curl. Stop bath is simply diluted acetic the problem. Its likely to be fine for acid. When the film, with developer diluting chemicals and may be okay Processing Tips on its surface, is immersed in the stop for washing prints, but keep a bottle The golden rule of processing is BE bath, this acid halts the development of "good" water on hand for washing CONSISTENT. Once you have process. If you were to rinse off the film. established the chemicals, procedures stop bath and place the film back in Wetting Agent: A final step that and times that work for you, stick the developer, the development pro- is highly recommended, but not with them. Change nothing without cess would continue. strictly essential, is coating the film a good reason. You will then always Indicator stop bath also contains with a wetting agent. The wetting be able to identify and correct any a dye that turns purple when the acid agent covers the film with a slippery problems quickly. I f , on the other is no longer active enough to be use- surface, so any impurities in the hand, you never do the same thing in ful. If you are using an indicator stop water will tend to slide off rather than the same way twice, youre far more bath, you can safely recycle it until stick. If you dont use a wetting likely to encounter some unpleasant the dye begins to change color (to a agent, theres always a risk that surprises . . . and far less likely to brownish gray). Most photographers, something (mineral deposits, dust in know what caused them or how to however, simply discard it after each the air, or even just bubbles in the correct them. use when processing film. (The in- water) will leave a permanent mark The trickiest part of film process- dicator dye is more helpful when on the emulsion. ing is getting the film loaded into theyoure processing prints.) developing tank. After that, all you Fixer: "Fixing" film does two • Interval Timer need to worry about is correctly tim-things: It dissolves all the silver An interval timer is a device that ing each step.crystals that have not been activated measures the time between the begin- Before you risk ruining a roll of ac-by the developer, and it hardens the ning of a process and its end. Any tual photographs, practice loadingemulsion. In essence, -it "locks" the timer (such as a clock, wristwatch or the tank with a blank roll until youreimage. stopwatch) with a second-hand will sure you have it down pat. Theres There are two basic kinds of fixer: do fine. There are of course a variety nothing quite like the panic caused bythe regular variety (sodium thiosul- of very nice timers specifically de- discovering that a roll of preciousphate) and "rapid fixer" (aluminum signed for darkroom use . . . but you film is not loading correctly. Withthiosulphate), which simply reacts dont need one. practice, you can avoid that ex-228 The Photographic Eye
  • 225. perience. Start by loading your prac- oper youll need already poured out, making sure the film is rolledtice roll in normal light, so you can into a measuring cup. You can fairly lightly, so it wont catch onsee how it works. Then practice in measure the other chemicals dur- the edges of the canister. Discardthe dark. ing processing. the canister and cap. Always be sure that your hands, Always be sure your chemicals Keep the film rolled up after itopener, scissors, and developing tank are at the correct temperature has been removed. Never set theare clean and dry — before you begin. before you begin processing. film down between removing itHands and tools that are wet or have There are two ways to accomplish from the canister and loading ittraces of chemicals on them are a this. into the tank. (If you do, youcommon cause of ruined film. A lit- If a chemical is to be diluted may forget where it is or acciden-tle planning can help you avoid a lot with water, check the temperature tally contaminate it by setting itof regret. before you add the water. You down in some moist chemical F i n a l l y , d a r k r o o m chemicals can then adjust the temperature residue.)deteriorate over time. Some become by using warmer or colder water Its perfectly all right to touchuseless quite rapidly (once theyve to produce the working solution. the first 6 inches or so of the filmbeen mixed with water) if they are ex- This approach is most useful if (including the leader), since thereposed to air. Therefore, they should your chemicals are still warm arent any photographs on it.all be stored in airtight containers, from mixing (some powdered Once you start loading the film,and the containers should be reason- chemicals require hot water to however, you will have to beably full. If you have only a small dissolve properly) or if theyre more careful.amount of a chemical left, pour it in- cold from sitting in a storageto into a smaller container. Flexible room. In other words, this ap- 3. Trim the leader off the film.plastic containers are available with proach can be used to quickly Always use scissors for this; dontan accordion grid design which produce a major change in tear the film. (If you try tearingallows all excess air to be squeezed temperature. the film, youre likely to bend orout. These are a useful option if you The second and more common stretch it, which will interferetend to store irregular amounts of way to adjust the temperature is with loading.)chemicals for fairly long periods of to prepare a "temperature bath." Cut straight across the film,time (a month is a long time for some Fill a sink or basin with warm or not at an angle. Try to cut be-chemicals). cool water. Place the containers tween sprocket holes, so the end of chemicals in the bath and let of the film is completely straightProcedures them soak until they are at the (which will make loading easier).• Preparation correct temperature. Add warmer With practice, you should be able /. Have all your chemicals mixed or cooler water to the bath as to do this in the dark: With your and ready to use before you needed. fingertips, feel for the sprocket begin. Bear in mind that the tempera- holes on one side, and hold on to The developer is frequently ture will change more quickly for one. Begin cutting just beyond diluted with water to produce a a small amount of a solution than your fingertips. As you cut, feel working solution appropriate to for a large one. Therefore, you for the corresponding sprocket a specific film or effect. The stop may want to put only the hole on the other side and aim the bath is generally prepared by mix- amounts you actually need into scissors just past it. ing a very concentrated liquid the temperature bath. with water. The fixer may be 4. Insert the end of the film into the prepared in the same way. In all 2. In total darkness, open the developing reel. these cases, be sure you have the film canister and slide the film out The exact procedure for loading right mixtures set aside and ready of it. film varies according to the type to use. It is even a good idea to Pry the cap off of the flat end of of reel and tank youre using. For have the exact amount of devel- the canister. Gently slide the film most plastic reels you II need on- Processing 229
  • 226. ly to feel along the outer edge of and arm as you slide the film in- air bubbles clinging to the film. the reel for the opening and in- to the reel, draw back to unwind sert the film into it. For a metal it from the spool, and slide it in 3. Agitate the tank for specified spiral reel, feel on the inside for again. periods of time, at specified the center clip or spike. Holding With the crank-equipped reels, intervals. the film loosely in one hand and youll have to experiment to find Read the instructions packaged the reel in the other, engage the the technique that works best for with the developer and/or film film end into the clip. you. You can unwind and load and follow them exactly. Both the film in sections, or you might too much and too little agitation 5. Load the film into the reel. prefer to let the whole roll drop can ruin your photographs. Use Once the film is inserted, you will and hang free from between your a stopwatch or a clock with a continue to slide it in, or youll thumb and index finger as you second-hand to ensure precise crank the reel or loader, which crank it up into the reel. timing. will slide the film in for you. Generally, you will be in- As you load the film, loosen 6. Place the reel into the tank and structed to agitate the tank for 5 the film on the spool so it moves securely attach the top. seconds at 30-second intervals. If smoothly. Hold the film by its Once the film is in the tank and so, then do exactly that. Do not, edges— try not to touch the image securely covered, the hard part is for example, agitate it for 10 area. The emulsion is on the inner over. You may now turn on the seconds at 20-second intervals, or surface of the film, so it is less lights. Processing should begin for 3 seconds whenever you feel risky to touch the outer sur- immediately (to reduce the like it. The most common cause face . . . but its still not a good chances of the film being harmed of ruined film is incorrect or idea. by left-over chemicals). careless processing. Follow the As you load the film, contin- instructions. ually check to be certain that it is • Processing Once you have established a not bending or catching. You /. Pour the developer (already method of agitation that seems to may need to touch the outer sur- diluted to the proper strength, if work, stick with it. Unless specif- face to do this. If so, do it as necessary) into the mouth of the ically instructed to do otherwise lightly and briefly as possible. developing tank and cap it. (i.e. for a special kind of film or With a metal reels, youll need processing) use the exact same to squeeze the edges of the film 2. Immediately after pouring, method every time you process slightly so they slide into the shake the tank to ensure that the film. If you alter your method grooves of the reel. Try to film is evenly covered. Then significantly, you may cause develop a smooth and gentle bang the tank down a few problems in the processing that movement with your hand, wrist times—hard!—to dislodge any will seem to be caused by other230 The Photographic Eye
  • 227. influences, such as incorrect ex- 8. Pour out the fixer. has dust on it after drying, try to posure or exhausted chemicals. You may want to re-use your think of ways to correct the prob- Try this method, counting fixer. Do not, however, mix used lem, or locate a better drying slowly from 1 to 5: On 1, twist and fresh fixer unless specifically space. the tank clockwise. On 2, twist it instructed to do so. (Its a/I right counter-clockwise. On 3, turn it to do this if all the fixer will be 12. Cut the film into strips and in- upside down. On 4, turn it right used and disposed of within a rel- sert them into a negative file. side up. On 5, bang it down on atively short period of time. Its You have not finished processing a hard surface. not all right if it will be stored for your film until this vital step is a while.) complete. Never leave processed4. Begin pouring the developer out film hanging or rolled up or lying of the tank 15 seconds before the 9. Wash the film for the specified around any longer than abso- end of the processing time. time. lutely necessary. (The dust wars Unless instructed to do otherwise, The simplest way to do this is to require constant vigilance.) pour the developer down the remove the lop and place the tank drain. You generally will not under running water, draining it Using the Negative File want to use it again. at regular intervals to ensure a Negative files generally hold either 5 complete wash. or 6 frames per row and have 7 rows5. Immediately after pouring all the per sheet. The 5-frame-per-row developer out, fill the tank with 10. Soak the film in the wetting variety with holes to fit a standard the pre-mixed stop bath, cap the agent. 3-ring binder is very handy. Unfor- tank and agitate it once. Do not remove the film from the tunately, it holds only 35 exposures, reel yet. Just pour the wetting so youll probably want to limit6. Leave the film in the stop bath agent into the developing tank yourself to 35 shots per roll of film, for about 30 seconds, with some after pouring out the water. so you dont have one too many agitation. Then pour it down the Plunge the reel up and down a frames for the file. The easiest way drain. few times to ensure that the film to do this is to advance the film until is evenly coated. Lift the reel out the frame-counter reads "2" before7. Fill the tank with fixer and of the tank and shake it gently. you take your first shot. You can follow the timing and agitation Pour the wetting agent back into then trim off the excess leader after instructions. its container if you plan to use it processing, and you wont have to The same rules apply to fixing as again soon; otherwise discard it. remember to stop at your 35th shot. to developing: Follow the instruc- To use the file, fill in the label area tions exactly. Though precise tim- 11. Remove the film from the reel with the date, assignment and file ing is less important with the and hang it up to dry in a dust- number, using a ball-point pen. fixer, you should not a/low your- free space. While the film is still hanging, cut self to get careless. Poorly fixed Hang the film so the last frame off the leader (which should be at the film will be just as ruined as is at the top (which will make it bottom). Then count the number of poorly developed film. easier to file once its dry). Let the frames that your file holds per row Generally, you will fix the film film dry overnight, and do not (5 or 6) and cut them off. Take care for about 5 minutes, agitating for touch it again until it is dry. to cut precisely along the narrow 10 seconds at I-minute intervals. The "dust wars" begin as soon band between frames, so you dont You may open the film canister as you hang your film up to dry. trim off part of the image area. in dim light during fixing. How- If the drying area is kept abso- With the label of the file facing ever, try to resist the urge to lutely clean, youll have a good you, slip the film into the first row "peek." If youve messed up the head start. If, on the other hand, with the "hump" up (i.e., with the processing, theres nothing you its even slightly dusty, youll emulsion side down). Repeat until the can do about it now. probably never win. If your film whole roll has been placed in the file. Processing 231
  • 228. To avoid confusion, do not addpieces of other rolls to the file evenif you have plenty of extra spacein it. Dont mark the file to indi-cate which frames to print or how tocrop them. Thats what the contactsheet is for.PRINTINGTools• Photographic PaperPhotographic paper is functionallythe same as film, except it has opaquepaper instead of clear film for itsbacking. Like film, it is coated withsilver crystals which turn black whenthey are exposed to light and pro-cessed. However, the coating onphoto paper reacts far more slowlythan that on film. Photo paper is graded according toits contrast. Contrast grades aregenerally numbered from 0 to 5 —thehigher the number, the higher thecontrast. In some cases, descriptivewords, such as soft (low contrast) andhard (high contrast) may be used toindicate contrast grades. Or you canuse a variable contrast paper withfilters to yield a range of contrasts. In addition, the surface texture,image tone, base tints and weightmay be indicated either with a codeor a few descriptive words. Surfacetexture descriptions include glossy "single-weight" (S) or "double- surfaces. To begin with, however, a(smooth and shiny), matte (textured weight" (D). (Resin coated paper, glossy and moderate-to-high contrastand dull) and lustre (in between described later, comes only in (#3 or #4) paper should suit your pur-glossy and matte). Image tone "medium weight.") poses well. (#2 is considered "normal"depends on the chemistry of the Most of this information may be contrast.)emulsion, and ranges from "cold" compressed into a single code, suchblue-black to "warm" brown. Base as F3 (in the Kodak code). In this • Enlargertints, produced by dyes that affect the case, the "F" stands for glossy and The enlarger is essentially a cameracolor of the paper, are described the "3" stands for moderate contrast. in reverse. It projects light backas white, warm-white, cream, etc. Whatever brand of paper you use, through the negative and focuses itFinally, the weight of a paper in- familiarize yourself with its code. As onto a sheet of light-sensitive paperdicates its thickness. For photo time and money permit, experiment which, when processed, produces apaper, this is generally expressed as with a variety of contrast grades and positive image.232 The Photographic Eye
  • 229. The enlarge: can be raised or force air down the tube of the brush. Scratch is a great help when youlowered to alter the size of the printed The brush itself should have very soft really need it, use it only as a lastimage. It may have one or two focus- bristles, so it can be used to "sweep" resort. It is very messy to work withing controls. If there are two, one will dust off film without scratching. and hard to clean off the for coarse focus (getting in the A more sophisticated variety ofright general range) and the other will brush is the anti-static brush (such as • Timerbe for fine-tuning. The lens is cal- the Staticmaster™). It contains a You will need a fairly sophisticatedibrated like t h e lens on a camera, in t i n y amount of radioactive material timer to obtain the best possiblef-stops. Under the lens there should that neutralizes the electrical charge results with an enlarger. Becausebe a red filter which, when it covers of static, which helps to actually get youll be measuring time in secondsthe lens, blocks any light that might rid of dust, rather than just move it (and maybe even fractions of a sec-expose the paper (most photo paper around. An anti-static brush is a very ond), rather than minutes, it is notis not sensitive to red light). In addi- effective and useful tool. It is slightly practical to turn the enlarger on andtion, a set of filters may be attached radioactive, however, so use it off by the enlarger for controlling con- cautiously. With a proper timer, you simplytrast, when using variable contrast A somewhat tamer tool for set the amount of time you want thepaper. (Variable contrast paper used fighting static is an anti-static cloth, light to be on and click a switch. Thewith no filter will print as #2 grade.) such as Ilfords A n t i s t a t i c u m I M . timer turns the light on, keeps it on Provided that the cloth is sufficiently for precisely the amount of time you• Safelight soft, smooth and lint-free, you can selected, then turns it o f f .Because photo paper is coated with use it to very gently wipe dust offa light-sensitive emulsion, just like of film. • Developing Traysfilm, it will turn black if fully exposed You can also use canned com- Since photo paper can be safely ex-to light and processed. Unlike film, pressed air (such as D u s t - O f f I M ) to posed to some light, it is processed inhowever, photo paper has limited clean film. However, some of the trays instead of tanks. The trays,sensitivity. It will generally react only gases used in the compression process made of plastic, come in a variety ofto the blue end of the spectrum. can do more harm than good. Hold- sizes, designs and colors. White isTherefore, most photo papers can ing the can perfectly upright will recommended, since it clearly showssafely be exposed to a quite bright red minimize the escape of these gases. chemical discoloration (which couldor orange light. This is the reason Test the product (and your technique) be a sign of trouble). However, youthat a safelight is safe. Nevertheless, on film you dont care about first. If may prefer to use different colors forits a good idea not to leave un- you see smudges or other signs of each chemical, so you can easily tellcovered photo paper near a safelight damage, use something else instead. them apart. Be sure your trays arefor extended periods of time, as some Another option is Edwals Anti- large enough to easily accommodatesafelights will eventually cause the Static Film, Glass and Chrome your paper. A tray that is too largepaper to fog (turn gray) when Cleaner™. Though not especially is better than one that is too small.processed. recommended for everyday use, this On the other hand, a tray that is (Most films can also be exposed to is a useful tool for cleaning up film much too large will only wastevery dim light in certain ranges of the that has gotten out of control. Use it chemicals.spectrum — Plus-X, for example can very carefully to avoid scratching thetolerate some green light — b u t it is film. • Tongsgenerally not worth the bother and Finally, if you do scratch some Tongs, made of plastic or bamboorisk.) film (and, sooner or later, you will), with rubber tips, are used to move the Edwal also makes a product called paper from one tray to the next. They• Film Cleaners, Etc. No-Scratch IM . It covers the film also come in a variety of colors. UseThe simplest dust-fighting tool is a with a coating that fills in scratches, one color for each chemical (blue forblower-brush. The blower is simply making them less evident (and even developer, red for stop bath, etc.).a rubber bulb that you squeeze to invisible) in the print. While No- This will help you avoid accidentally Processing 233
  • 230. contaminating your chemicals. Al- • Procedures ways use your tongs . . -. do not use 1. Turn the enlarger on and open your fingers. the lens to its largest aperture. 2. Adjust the enlargers height as • Chemicals needed until the light is covering The chemicals used for processing an area slightly larger than the prints are essentially the same as negative file. those used for processing film. Some Its a good idea to focus the of them, in fact, can be used for enlarger when you do this, so either purpose. In both cases, you youll always be setting it at develop the image, "stop" it, fix it To use a lupe, place it directly on roughly the same height. The rea- and, finally, wash and dry it. the contact sheet over the frame you son for this is that the amount of want to inspect. Bring your eye down light reaching the paper decreases Contact Prints to the lupe (dont lift the lupe) and as the distance to the light source • Additional Tools look through it. Its important that (the enlarger bulb) increases. You Glass: To make a contact print, your head does not block the light. can focus the enlarger without the negative must be pressed flat Do not place the contact on a light putting a negative in it: simply against — o r in contact with — t h e box or hold it up to the window, as adjust the focusing knob until the photo paper. The simplest way to this will only make all the edges of the lighted area are crisp achieve this is to place a piece of glass photographs look over-exposed and and clear. on top of the negative. (Though out of focus. special contact printing frames are Grease Pencil: As you inspect 3. Set the enlarger lens two stops sold for this purpose, they are not each contact sheet, youll want to down. necessary.) The glass should be heavy make notes regarding which photo- enough to hold the negatives flat and graphs to enlarge and how to enlarge 4. Cover the lens with the safelight slightly larger than the photo paper them. The best tool for this is a white filter. (generally 8x10"). grease pencil. A grease pencil writes At this point, check to be sure It is essential that the glass be clean easily on photo paper, and can also that all lights except safelights and unscratched, since any flaws in be erased with a fingertip or tissue. are turned off, and that there the glass will show up on your con- A while grease pencil will show up are no light leaks around doors, tacts. You should have a dry and pro- fairly well even under a safelight . . . window, etc. Leave the enlarger tected place in which to store the so your notes will be legible in the light, and always put it away im- darkroom, where you need them mediately after using it. Wipe the most. 5. Center a sheet of photo paper inglass clean with a dry, lint-free cloth What sort of notes should you put the lighted area.(using a glass-cleaning spray if on your contacts? First, mark each Remove one sheet of photo papernecessary) prior to each use. frame that you want to enlarge. The from its container. Always close Lupe: The primary function of usual way of doing this is simply to the container immediately. Doa contact sheet is to enable you to in- draw a box around it. You may also not leave photo paper uncovered,spect your photographs before you want to cross out any frames that are no matter how light-tight youenlarge them. To avoid disappointing out of focus. If you see a good way think your darkroom is. Theresresults, you need to know more than to crop a photograph, mark that as always the chance that you orjust whats in each photograph. Is it well. Finally, you may want to jot someone else will turn the lightsin focus? Is the lighting exactly right? down suggestions on how to print a on before youve put the paperAre the subjects eyes open? Is the photograph, so youll remember your away. Learn good habits fromfacial expression good? These are intentions when the time comes. the outset and stick with them.some of the questions you can onlyanswer with a lupe or magnifying lens.234 The Photographic Eye
  • 231. 6. Place the negative file over the want to use an entire sheet of 2. Cover all but one narrow band photo paper. photo paper. Later, youll be able of the test strip with an opaque Be sure that all the negatives and to save paper (and money) by us- card. the label area are within the ing a smaller piece (such as 1/3 papers borders. of a sheet). Always be sure that 3. Make a 2-second exposure. the test strip area covers a rep- 7. Place the glass over the negative resentative sampling of the pho- 4. Move the card to uncover file. tographs contrast. In addition, another narrow band of the test Hold the glass by the edges to be sure that the most important strip. avoid finger-printing the image elements of the photograph are area. Gently press the glass down represented (for example, the face 5. Make another 2-second against the paper to ensure full in a portrait). Generally, this can exposure. contact. You may want to use a be accomplished by placing the cloth for this, to keep your test strip diagonally across the 6. Repeat until you have made a fingers off the glass. center of the image area. total of at least 8 exposures and the entire test strip has been 8. Turn off the enlarger. exposed. 9. Swing the safelight filter out of the way of the enlarger lens.10. Expose the contact sheet. For your first contact, follow the procedures for making test strips (see below). Later, once you know the exposure that works for you, you probably wont need a test strip except for film shot in tricky lighting situations.Test Strip /. With the enlarger light on and covered by the safelight filter, place a piece of photo paper in the image area. When you make your very first test strip (of a contact), you may Processing 235
  • 232. Enlargements• Additional Tools Easel: The easel is simply an ad-justable tool for holding photo paperin place and keeping it flat. Mosteasels have two blades which slidealong a slot marked in inches. Tomove the blades, you press a leverwhich unlocks them. When you haveset the blades at the correctmeasurements, you release the lever,locking the blades in place. Othereasel designs provide standardized openings (4x5", 5x7", 8x 10") or have 4 adjustable (often magnetic) blades. Here again, which tools you use is of far less importance than how you use them. Grain Focuser: An enlargement is correctly focused only when the grain (the pattern of silver dots that compose the image) is in focus. With most films, you need a grain focuscr to see the grain well enough to achieve this degree of precision. It enlarges a very small portion of the image area and reflects it up through a lens so you can see the grain clearly enough to focus it. Before using a grain focuser, ad- just the enlarger until the photograph is fairly well focused. Then place the focus more accurately, in the darker and out of focus. To use this type of focuser on your easel within the areas of the image. Looking through focuser, keep your eye on the target image area. Look through the lens, the focuser, adjust the focusing con- and then adjust the enlarger until the making sure your head jsnt blocking trols of your enlarger until the grain grain lines up with it.) the light from the enlarger. .Move the is nice and crisp. focuser around within the image area (Note: If your grain focuser is • Procedures until you can see clusters of black equipped with a "target" like the sight /. Insert the negative into the dots. Thats grain. Youll be able to of a gun, the grain will appear to negative holder, emulsion-side see more grain, and therefore to move up and down, rather than in down.236 The Photographic Eye
  • 233. The easiest way to identify the mind that the darkroom safelight have enough light to focus ac- emulsion side of a negative is to is not bright enough to reveal curately. Remember to open the set it on a flat surface, with its dust. Turn the enlarger or room lens and re-focus every time you edges touching the surface. The light on for this purpose. raise or lower the enlarger head. film should look like a tunnel. For best results, use a grain The underside (or ceiling) of the 3. Place the negative holder into the focuser. tunnel is the emulsion. enlarger and turn the enlarger The reason this works is that light on. 8. Close the lens down two stops. the emulsion tends to contract (or Generally, you will turn a lever to This is a point-oj-departure set- shrink) as it dries. This is because lift the lighting unit out of the ting. Once you have acquired it absorbs (and later evaporates) way, slide the holder into place some darkroom experience, youll more liquid than the plastic and lower the lighting unit back learn to use other f-stops to backing. into place. achieve the effects you want. You can also tell the emulsion Be careful not to dislodge more side of film by looking at it in dust when you do this. In other 9. Cover the lens with the safelight fairly bright light. The emulsion words, be gentle. If you suspect filter. side is the dull side (the plastic that dust is hiding in your en- backing is shiny). In addition, if larger, then clean it. 10. Place a piece of photo paper on you carefully examine it, you the easel. should be able to see layers in the 4. Place the easel under the lens. emulsion side (the backing is 11. Expose the paper for the correct smooth). 5. Adjust the height of the enlarger amount of time. and the position of the easel un- Follow the instructions for mak-2. Be sure the negative is free of til the image is cropped the way ing a test strip if you dont know dust. you want it to be. what the "correct" time is. This is the hard part, but it is essential. For best results, use an 6. Turn off all room lights at this 12. Slide the paper into the devel- anti-static brush before and after point, leaving only one or two oper, face-up. placing the negative in the holder. safelights on. Hold the negative up against a 13. Immediately turn the paper face- light and check for any remain- 7. Open the enlarger lens to its down and let it sit for 30 seconds. ing dust spots. Use the brush or largest aperture and focus it. compressed air until the negative A/ways focus at the largest aper- is perfectly dust-free. Bear in ture. This will ensure that you Processing 237
  • 234. 14. While continuously agitating the 20. Dry the paper. tray, turn the paper over at RC (or resin coated) papers have 30-second intervals until it has a layer of plastic between the been in the developer for the emulsion and the paper, and a specified amount of time. second coat on the back of the Two minutes of developing, for paper, to prevent the paper from example, would be face-down for absorbing water during process- 30 seconds, face-up for 30 sec- ing. As a result, they dry very onds, face-down for 30 seconds quickly. Special drying racks are • Dodging and face-up for 30 seconds. This available to ensure that they dry Dodgers: These are simply small procedure will ensure that the flat, but you can achieve the same pieces of opaque material on sticks. print is evenly developed and may result by laying your prints face- You can make your own quite easily help to reduce curling. up on towels until they dry and (with cardboard, wire and tape) or Follow the timing instructions then pressing them under some purchase a set at any camera store. packaged with the developer or heavy books. The edges of a dodger are generally paper. Do not attempt to correct More traditional fiber-base irregular to help the dodged area a poor exposure by changing the papers absorb much more water. blend with the rest of the print. developing time! They should be dried in a glazer Raise or lower the dodger to make (a specially designed heater that its shadow the right size for the area 15. Lift the paper out of the effectively "irons"photographs). you want to dodge (generally a bit developer with tongs and gently Fiber-base papers may also be smaller). shake excess liquid from it. dried with blotters (rolls or sheets) It is very important to wiggle the or electric dryers. dodger during the exposure so the 16. Place the paper in the stop bath edges of the area being dodged will for IS to 30 seconds with occa- Dodging and Burning fade into their surroundings. sional agitation. Occasionally, you will discover that If one part of the image is too dark there is no "correct" exposure for the when the rest is correctly exposed,17. Lift the paper from the stop bath entire image area of a single photo- then youll want to dodge it. There with tongs and gently shake ex- graph. If you expose for the dark are two approaches to this. The first cess liquid from it. areas, the light areas will look washed is to dodge out the dark area (or out. If you expose for the light areas, areas) while making a normal ex-18. Place the paper in the fixer for the dark areas will look dense and posure for the print. The second ap- the specified time, with occa- "lumpy." Fortunately, you can alter proach, which will produce more sional agitation. the exposure of selected areas by accurate results, is to make a series Once again, read the instructions dodging and burning. of short exposures rather than one packaged with your fixer or film Dodging (or dodging out) a photo- long one. to determine the fixing time. graph involves covering up part of For example, lets say the normal the image so it will receive less light exposure is 20 seconds and the dark19. Place the paper in the washing during an exposure. Burning (or area should receive only about half tank and wash for the specified burning in) involves using an opaque as much light as the rest of the photo- time. card with a hole in it to expose part graph. Set the timer for 10 seconds of the image to more light. and expose the entire image once for238 The Photographic Eye
  • 235. that amount of time. Then cover thelens with the safelight filter and turnon the enlarger so you can get yourdodger in position. With your freehand, turn the enlarger off and swingthe filter away. Begin wiggling thedodger and activate the timer. Con-tinue wiggling throughout the second10-second exposure. If, instead, you needed to dodgetwo areas for 5 seconds each, thenyou might make three separate ex-posures: 10 seconds for the entireprint, 5 seconds to dodge one area,and 5 seconds to dodge the otherarea. Most of the print would stillreceive a total of 20 seconds ofexposure. A face in deep shadow can often be "rescued" with careful dodging. Stu- dent photograph by Mike Wiley. If one area (or several) of a photo- and in just the right place for your graph is too light when the rest is specific needs. The black cardboard correctly exposed, then burning is the of photo paper boxes works per- answer. As with dodging, you may fectly, and its a good idea to save either slide the burner into place and them for this purpose. wiggle it over the area while making As with dodging, raise or lower the• Burning a single exposure, or you may make burner to get the size right, and be Burner: The burner is simply a a series of exposures for greater sure to wiggle it so the edges blend.piece of cardboard or other material control.that is thick and dark enough to pre- Though you may want to keep avent light from going through it. A few commercially available burnershole (ideally with irregular or rough on hand, youll probably discoveredges) cut in the center allows a nar- that its often useful to make yourrow beam of light to reach the print, own, with the hole just the right sizeso only that area is exposed while theburner is in use. Processing 239
  • 236. FOCAL POINT: Common DisastersYour camera, as weve noted, is a carefully. If the sprocket holes are if it has chlorine or salt in it), dust,machine. Like any machine, it wont torn, cut off the damaged part of the and other environmental hazards un-always produce the results you film. Trim the new end of the film to til you try to make enlargements. Ifexpect. create a new leader, and reload. you make a habit of inspecting your So much for finding and correcting lens before you shoot, youll avoid aBlank Film the problem. How do you avoid it? lot of frustration. Always carry lensOne of the most upsetting unexpected The key is being careful to load film tissue or a soft, lint-free clothresults is an entire roll of film that properly. Always advance the film at (or wear a thoroughly "broken-in"comes out blank. Unless something least one frame with the camera back cotton shirt) to wipe the lens aswent very wrong during processing open, so you can check to be sure it necessary.(such as using the wrong chemicals), is "catching" correctly on the take-up It is a good idea to use a UV orthis means that the film did not ad- reel. Then close the back and ad- skylight filter at all times. The mainvance correctly. (The old problem of vance it two more frames, checking reason for this is that it is far lessleaving the lens cap on while shooting to be sure the rewind knob is turn- painful to replace a scratched filterhas been eliminated with through- ing as well. than a scratched lens. In addition,the-lens cameras.) Film does not ad- To avoid tearing the sprocket a filter can be removed for morevance for one of two reasons: either holes, be certain as you load the film thorough inspection than is possibleit was incorrectly threaded into the that they fit the sprocket reel prop- with a lens. Youll be surprised by thetake-up reel, or the sprocket holes erly. In addition, avoid advancing the amount of dirt that can hide on awere torn. film with abrupt, jerky movements. filter and be invisible until you hold Both problems are fairly easy to Instead, move the film advance lever it up to the and avoid. Each time you in one gentle, steady sweep. If your photographs are con-advance the film, the rewind knob sistently blurred, especially aroundshould turn slightly. If it doesnt, Double Exposures the edges, the lens itself may be caus-crank it counter-clockwise until the If some frames of a roll of film are ing the problem. Some inexpensivefilm in the canister is tightly wound. double exposed (and you dont know zoom lenses, for example, produceRelease the shutter and advance the why), torn sprocket holes may again distortion at large apertures or at cer-film again. If the rewind knob still be the problem —especially if the two tain focal lengths. The only solutionsdoesnt turn, you have a problem. exposures dont line up exactly. Often are to avoid using the lens under con-Take the camera into a darkroom or the problem will correct itself after ditions that cause the undesirableuse a light-tight changing bag to ruining a few frames, but only if you results . . . or to replace it with a bet-remove the film in total darkness. (If stop jerking the film forward and ex- ter (and probably more expensive)you dont, youll probably lose any tending the tear. If the problem hap- model. Before you do that, however,photographs youve taken so far.) pens again and again even though take the lens back to where you If the film is partially advanced you are being careful, take the bought it. Its possible that the lens(and therefore has been exposed), cut camera to a camera shop for possi- was improperly assembled by thethe exposed part away from the can- ble repairs. manufacturer and can be repaired.ister. Store it in a light-tight con- (For this reason, you should alwaystainer, such as the black plastic con- Blurs test any new camera equipment ex-tainers that come with Kodak film. If your photos display blurs or poor haustively while it is still underDevelop it as usual when you can. focus, always in the same area of the warranty.) If no more than the first "lip" of frame, your lens may be flawed. Thethe film (called the "leader) is ex- most common "flaw" that produces Scratchestended, check the sprocket holes. If this result is a dirty lens. You may not If your film shows long horizontalthey are not damaged, reload the film notice fingerprints, water (especially scratches, you either have dust in the240 The Photographic Eye
  • 237. camera or are being careless during chicken pox, you probably are hav- with blank rolls until you can loadprocessing. Its a good idea to blow ing trouble with air bubbles. When an correctly every time.and brush the cameras interior from air bubble attaches itself to the film,time to time. Be especially careful not it blocks out the developer. As a Scratchesto load or unload film in a strong result, the film under the bubble You have many opportunities todusty wind. doesnt develop. To avoid this, scratch your film. The first is when remember to bang the developing you remove it from the canister. BeIN PROCESSING tank good and hard after each sure the film is wound tightly enough agitation. to slide out all together. The outsideIf youre at all prone to anxiety, then of the roll (the leader) is not beingprocessing film is likely to be a Fogging developed, so be sure it is protectingnightmare for you. All those precious If large patches of your negative, in- the rest of the roll. Your secondimages sit soaking inside a little metal cluding the narrow band between scratch opportunity is when youor plastic tank. You cant see whats frames, are cloudy (i.e. dark gray transfer the roll onto the developinggoing on and any mistake may result even in the lightest areas), you almost spool. Good ways to scratch the filmin utter disaster. Rest assured that, certainly have a light leak. Check out at this stage include bumping orsooner or later, you will ruin a roll. your darkroom by closing the door sliding it against a table or other sur-Try to accept it as a learning ex- and turning off all the lights. After face, letting one part of the film edgeperience, as your photographic dues. three minutes, stretch your hand out. scrape along another portion of theIt happens to all of us. You should not be able to see it. If emulsion, or running your fingers you can see it, try to find out where along the emulsion (inner) surface.Streaks the light is coming from. Look along Once the film is in the developingThe most common cause of streak- the edges of any doors and windows. tank, it is relatively impossible toing in a negative is incorrect agita- Check to see if any darkroom equip- scratch. Your next big chance comestion. If you agitate the film too little ment is glowing too brightly (in- when you hang it up to dry. Squee-during processing, youre likely to get dicator lights on your enlarger timer? gees are the best tool for scratching.vertical streaks (running across each a glowing radio dial?). Also examine Just squeeze good and hard andframe) that line up with the sprocket your processing tank to be sure it youre certain to destroy the entireholes. If you agitate too much, youre hasnt developed any light leaks. roll. Finally, any time the film is outlikely to get horizontal streaks (run- Have any portions of the light trap of its negative file it stands an ex-ning along the edge of the film inside the tank broken off? Is the cellent chance of being scratched.lengthwise). Both are caused by in- cover not sealing properly? Particularly effective techniques in-consistencies in the rate at which clude dropping it on the floor (step-bromide in the developer is refreshed. White Blotches ping on it just about guarantees com-The solution is simple: once you If your negative comes out looking plete destruction), sliding it throughestablish an agitation pattern that like irrefutable proof of UFOs, you a closed negative holder, leaving itworks for you, stick to it. probably failed to load the film prop- unprotected while you go out for a If you are quite certain that you are erly onto the developing reel. If the snack, and trying to rub dust off withagitating the film correctly, you have film is stuck together during loading, a cloth that could pass for sandpaper.been using old or contaminated it can produce an airtight seal which,chemicals. Replace them. like air bubbles, prevents develop- ment. Little crescent moons arePolka Dots caused by bending the film. The onlyIf your film comes out of processing solution is to be as careful as possi-looking like it has a bad case of ble when loading, and to practice Processing 241
  • 238. Ernst Haas, City Lights. Courtesy Magnum Photos, Inc., New York.242 The Photographic Eye
  • 239. appendix 2 Color ts a good idea to spend at least a year concentrating on black-and-white pho-tography, before adding any othercomplications. As you become fluentin black and white, however, you willprobably want to explore colorphotography as well. It is an equal,though not necessarily greater, sourceof discovery and expression. It is nomore difficult and no easier; no moreor less important, "artistic," or ex-pressive than black-and-white. Itssimply different. Certainly every photographershould learn to work in both black-and-white and color. You maychoose to use one more than theother, but you should get to knowboth. This chapter is intended solely asan introduction. Full coverage of allthe various aspects of color photog-raphy would require a book in itself.Color imposes a new layer of possi-bilities and decisions. The skills andinsights youve already developed inblack-and-white, however, will giveyou a head start.FROM B&W TO COLORWhat changes when you move intocolor? What stays the same? Lets David Hockney, Studio, L.A., Sept. 1982. Photographic collage, ©deal with the second question—and David Hockney. If Hackneys intention here is to simulate human sight,shorter answer —first. in what ways would you say he has succeeded? 243
  • 240. One key to effective color The basic photographic process change is that colors will be recordedphotography is including an ap- stays the same. Light enters the as colors, instead of black, white orpropriate number of colors in any camera and exposes silver crystals on gray. As a result, youll need to besingle photograph. Though lots of film. The main difference is that the aware of whether those colors com-splashy colors may be perfect for film has four layers, each of which plement each other or clash. Youllsome subjects, others—such as this captures one color of light. When have to pay attention to the ability ofwinter detail— achieve greater impact these layers are dyed the right colors, some colors to "steal" attention awaywith a limitedpallette. Notice how the they produce overlapping dots which from what youve chosen as the sub-green leaves stand out clearly from the produce a wide range of tints and ject. Youll also have to learn to con-more neutral brown and white back- shades. The result is a color image. trol the range of colors in a photo-ground. Student photograph by Mark The equipment also stays the same, graph: how many colors are in it, andHarrington. for the most part. You use the same how bright or dark they are. camera and same lenses. If you do Finally, youll have to choose be- your own processing, temperature tween negative (print) or reversal control becomes more important due (slide) film. Each has its benefits and to more sensitive chemicals. The drawbacks and is suited to a specific enlarger must be equipped with filters kind of work. Youll also have to for color printing. Outside of that, spend more money. and a number of additional steps, the The following sections will provide procedures remain similar. a brief discussion of each of these What changes? The most obvious issues.244 The Photographic Eye
  • 241. Complicated ImageryThe first thing youre likely to noticewhen you first start working in coloris that theres suddenly a lot more tothink about. Color tends to make in-dividual objects more noticeable.What was pattern in a black andwhite may be a chaotic mess of sep-arate things in color, each one tryingto be the dominant subject. If thebackground colors are too strong,theyll overpower your subject. If theyre too weak, theyll decrease its impact. The best way to begin with color, therefore, is probably to stick to astrict "diet." At first, try to have onecolor theme t h r o u g h o u t eachphotograph. Look for images in which a singlecolor, or a group of similar colors,appears in various places. A blue carin front of a blue house, for exam- ple, or someone in a purple coat with a pink umbrella, standing next to astop sign. This is equivalent to a painters selection of a palette, a setof related colors to use throughout apicture. You might also look forlighting situations that give a colorcast to an entire scene, such as theorange light of late afternoon, or thepale blues of a morning mist. Once you get a feel for colorthemes like these, try introducing one All of the basic compositional elements of black and white photography also"discordant note," a color that con- apply to color. Notice how the repeating shapes of the bowls and peppers pro-trasts or even conflicts with the duce interesting visual harmonies in this photograph. The bright colors addprevailing color theme. For example, impact, but do not alter the essential composition. Would this photograph workyou might photograph someone in a equally well in black and white? Why or why not? Student photograph by Joshbright red shirt sitting in the blue car front of the blue house. A second way to keep color undercontrol is to use the relative sizes ofobjects to structure a photo. For ex-ample, if that blue car is the subjectof your photo, but the house behindit is brown and the person sitting init is wearing a light green shirt, you Color 245
  • 242. Joel Meyerowitz, Red Interior, cant get a color theme. You can, Similarly, if you want to single outProvincetown, 1977. Crisp focus however, move in close on that car, one subject from among a clutter ofand intensity of color give this possibly shooting it from the front shapes and patterns, move in close toscene a surreal air. Does there rather than the side, so it fills the it. Make it as large as your com-seem to be an unfinished story frame as much as possible. The car position will allow, and position ithere? should almost certainly cover the over one or more of the key points four key points of the composition of the grid. grid. By doing this, you will ensure Another good way to single out a that the blue car is clearly dominant, subject is to "spotlight" it. If the light and that the less important features is brighter on your subject than on its (the person and the house) are less surroundings, then the subject will conspicuous. naturally "pop." It will stand out What can you do to emphasize the clearly. If the natural light doesnt person in the car? How would you provide an opportunity for this ef- compose the photo to emphasize the fect, you can "fake" it by using a house? reflector (such as a mirror or a piece246 The Photographic Eye
  • 243. of white mat board) or flash fill (seeAppendix) to throw some additionallight onto your subject. How do you achieve this? One wayis to be patient and hope that eitheryour subject moves or the light does.Another way is to make sure that thesun is behind you, so it is likely to beshining on your subject. If you dothat and get up close, your subjectwill generally appear brighter thanthe background. Sometimes youll want to do justthe opposite of "spotlighting." Ashadowed or silhouetted subject canoccasionally stand out beautifullyfrom a brightly colored background. The main thing you need to keepin mind is that a color photograph isalmost always "about" color beforeit is about anything else. The colormakes its impact first, and otherelements emerge more gradually. Ifyou dont control the color by de-ciding how much of it gets into thephoto, then it will probably competewith your subject, rather than en-hancing it. Pow! or Subtle? As you begin playing with color themes and different palettes, youll also want to begin making decisions about value. Value, as you may recall, is the darkness or lightness ofcolor tones. In black-and-white Eliot Porter. Frostbitten Apples, Tesuque, New Mexico, November 21,photography, value concerns the 1966. Dye-transfer photograph. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Newrange of grays. In color photography, York (Gift of Eliot Porter in honor of David H. McAlpin, 1979).it essentially concerns the density ofcolor. If you underexpose a colorphoto, you will intensify and darkenthe values in it. You will increase theirdensity. If you overexpose it, you willlighten and possibly weaken them,reducing their density. Most color photographers settle ona value level that expresses the waythey see things, and then tend to stick Color 241
  • 244. One way to produce a color photo- close to this level in most of their shadows on peoples faces and othergraph is to add the color yourself, work. Before you decide on a con- potential lighting problems.using paints, markers or other media sistent value level, however, be sure If you want to get a lighter effect,on a black-and-white print. This cre- to experiment. The best way to do you can try lowering the ISO to 50.ates a somewhat surreal image, that is to bracket your shots. Make Most color films are rated fairly lowwhich can be very effective. (Student it a habit to shoot one normal ex- already, so its unlikely that youllphotograph by Eric Babbitt.) posure first, and then to try several want to set them lower, but dont be darker and lighter variations. afraid to try it. Sometimes even a After a while, youll probably find very pale, washed-out look is just that you generally want to set your right. camera a half or full stop above or The main point here is that you below what your light meter indi- should be aware of the effect that ex- cates. If so, you might want to ad- posure has on color. Some photog- just the ISO accordingly. For exam- raphers prefer a dark, or color ple, lets say you want to underexpose saturated, style. Others prefer a very Kodachrome 64 by about half a stop. light, delicate one. Most probably To do that, set the ISO at 80. If you prefer to stay right in the middle, want to go even darker most of the with "normal" exposures most of the time, set it at 100. Bear in mind, time. Take some time to sort out your however, that you will be darkening own preferences. everything. This means that youll have to be especially careful to avoid248 The Photographic Eye
  • 245. TECHNICAL offers one distinct advantage: After Dont forget to look for photographsCONSIDERATIONS it is developed, you can look at what in unlikely places. This reflection of youve got before making prints. a neon sign is almost certainly moreIn addition to all the various aesthetic With color negatives, you pretty well interesting than a straight shot of thedecisions that color photography re- have to have prints made of an en- sign would have been. Also noticequires, there are some technical ones tire roll before you can choose the how the deep "saturated" colors addas well. As is usually the case, these ones you like. Transparencies are also impact. With color slide film, this ef-technical decisions have aesthetic virtually required if you hope to have fect is achieved by slightly underex-implications. your color photographs published. posing. With print film, color satura- On the other hand, if you know tion can be controlled during exposurePrints or Slides? that you will always want just prints, or printing. Student photograph byThe first decision youll need to make then print film is what you should Jeff whether to use film that produces use. This is especially true if you plancolor prints or transparencies (slides). to do your own developing and print-Both kinds can produce prints of ing. To get a print from a trans-roughly equal quality, but you can- parency, youll probably need tonot easily produce good transparen- make an interneg (by copying it ontocies from negative film. another film) to use in the enlarger. Transparency film (technically If you have no use for the originalcalled color reversal, since the transparency, then this merely addsnegative is chemically "reversed" to an unnecessary step.produce a transparent positive image) Finally, transparencies impose one Color 249
  • 246. High-speed films (some rated as high as ISO 3200), can be used in very low light. Though they are grainer than slower films, most produce quite good results. Many photographers even find the grain of high-speed films to be an asset, since it conveys a soft, moody quality. Photograph by Michael F. OBrien.250 The Photographic Eye
  • 247. more important consideration: crop- The grain structure of Ektachrome Moneyping. Unless you plan to make your is not as good as Kodachromes, giv- One last technical issue is money.own prints from your transparencies, ing it a "soft" quality. It also has Color film costs more than blackor are willing to pay for custom print- relatively low contrast and a green and white. It also costs more to de-ing at a lab, you must do all your bias. All these factors make it a good velop and print. While shootingcropping when you take a photo- choice for nature photography. It is many photographs of a single sub-graph. Is your eye good enough so less good for some skin tones. ject is just as good an idea in color asyou never need to make corrections Fujichrome is a very bright film in black and white, it is expensive.after, a shot is taken? Shooting with a yellow bias. The brightness is So, experiment to your hearts con-transparencies is a good way to find the result of an unusually thin emul- tent at the start. Later, once your ex-out. Its also a good way to work sion. Its grain structure is comparable perience grows (and your wallettoward that goal. to Kodachromes, though it has shrinks), youll probably want to be somewhat less contrast. Fujichrome more conservative. Try to make everyFilms tends to make things look rather shot count. Dont stop bracketing,Deciding between negative and rever- cheerful because of its brightness and but be careful not to waste color filmsal film narrows your choices yellow bias. on subjects that are only moderatelydown . . . but not by much. Both You also need to choose a film interesting. Hold out for the reallykinds of film offer a wide range of speed that is appropriate to specific good stuff.choices in speed and other factors. subjects and lighting conditions. InThe following examples of trans- most cases, you want the slowest filmparency films will give you an idea of that will work in the light you haveyour choices. at the shutter speed you need. For ex- Kodachrome has been the reigning ample, on a bright, sunny day onprofessional standard for several which you plan to photograph peo-decades. It has a good grain struc- ple walking in a park, you mightture, which means that the dots that choose a fairly slow film, such as ISOproduce the colored image are small 50 or 64. For darker lighting or fasterand densely packed. It also has good subjects, youll probably want acontrast, so objects look razor sharp. faster film, such as ISO 200 orThese two factors are especially im- higher.portant if you hope to have your You can get higher ISO ratings byphotographs published. pushing the film, achieving faster Kodachrome reacts particularly speed by altering the developmentstrongly to red, so anything red is time. The film that works best forlikely to seem dominant. Its impor- this is Ektachrome 400. Many labstant to be aware of this, especially if will push it to ISO 1600 or 3200. Beyour primary subject is not red. All sure to point out that you want itcolor films have a similar bias or cast. pushed, and how high, when youKodachrome is not especially good at drop off the film.rendering bright greens, so if yourephotographing springtime in thepark, for example, you might do bet-ter with some other film. Color 251
  • 248. Student photograph by John Strange, Jr.252 The Photographic Eye
  • 249. appendix 3 Manipulation & PresentationPRESENTATION cardboard, however, will work almost as well.Mounting Prints Dry Mount Tissue: This is a kindAny photograph that is to be of tissue paper that contains a specialdisplayed, even just for a class crit, glue. The glue is activated by heatshould be mounted. This will prevent and tends to be very permanent. Youthe photograph from curling and help will place a sheet of dry mount tissueto protect it from accidental damage. between a print and a mounting There are several ways to mount a board, like a sandwich, then heat itphonograph. The most common is to and press it to stick the whole thinguse Jr; mount (issue in a heated together. equipped with a thermostat and amounting press. This procedure is Paper Cutter: The first step in light to indicate when it is at the cor-explained below. Another, more mounting a print is to trim off the rect temperature for mounting.sophisticated technique is to use a white borders around the edges. Youvacuum press, in which a special will probably also need to trim your • Dry Mounting: Proceduresspray is used instead of the dry mount mounting board, so a fairly heavy- /. Place the photograph face-downtissue. The simplest technique is to duty paper cutter is recommended. on a clean surface.use spray mount, a rubber cement Always be mindful that a paperspray that produces an even gluing cutter is a very dangerous tool. Use 2. Place a sheet of dry mount tissuesurface. This is an acceptable (and in- it carelessly and you could lose a on top of the photograph.expensive) alternative if you dont finger. Never leave the blade up after Be sure the tissue is large enoughhave access to a press. use. Always look before you cut, to to cover the entire image area. When you are ready to hang a be sure no part of you, your clothingshow (and probably not before then), or anything else you dont want to cut 3. With the tacking iron, attach theyou will want to put your prints in is in the path of the blade. tissue to the photograph, at thesome kind of frame. This is called Tacking Iron: Before going into center.matting. Well get to that after we the press, a photograph must be an- Lightly "iron" the tissue so itdiscuss mounting. chored in place with a tacking iron. sticks to the center of the photo- This is exactly like the sort of iron graph. Confine the tacking iron• Dry-Mounting: Tools used to press your clothes, except its to the smallest area possible, just Mounting Board: Y o u can smaller and has a long handle. enough to hold the tissue in place.mount a photograph on virtually any Mounting Press: A mountingstiff fiber-board. One of the best press provides two things: heat and 4. Trim all borders off the photo-materials is Bainbridge Board I M , a weight. The heat activates the dry graph (and, of course, off thethin mat board with a smooth sur- mount tissues glue. The weight tissue as well).face. Any other non-corrugated, stiff presses everything flat. The press is 253
  • 250. • Spray Mounting: Tools 9. Carefully set the photograph in Spray Mount place on the mounting board. Mounting Board Paper Cutter and/or Mat Knife 10. Cover the photograph with trac- Newspaper ing paper (or any clean paper or cloth). • Spray Mounting: Procedures /. Select a work area that has 11. Gently but firmly rub (or burn- plenty of ventilation. ish) the photograph to ensure that it is firmly stuck to the 5. Place the photograph face-up on 2. Spread an ample supply of news- mounting board. a piece of mounting board. papers on the floor (or other working surface) to protect it 12. Trim the mounting board and 6. Lift one corner of the photo- from the spray mount glue. photograph with a mat knife or graph (keeping the tissue flat paper cutter. against the mounting board) and 3. Trim all borders off the tack the tissue to the board. photograph. Matting • Procedures 7. Cover the print with a clean 4. Place piece of scrap paper /. Select or prepare a mat with an cover sheet (ordinary tracing slightly larger than the photo- opening slightly smaller than the paper will do fine) and slide it, graph in the center of the print. There should be at least 2 with the attached mounting newspaper. inches of border on all sides. board, into the press. 5. Place the photograph face-down Again, cutting mats is risky 8. Close the press and let it "cook" on top of the scrap paper. work. Do it carefully and, if for 5-10 seconds. necessary, with assistance. 6. Hold the spray mount can about 9. Check to be sure the print is 12" away from the print and 2. Mount the print in the exact firmly mounted. spray an even coat of glue. center of a mounting board that The best way to do this is to has been cut to the same size as gently curve the mounting board. 7. Let the glue "set" for at least 1 (or slightly smaller than) the mat. A well mounted print will curve minute. Do not trim the mounting board. with it. A poorly mounted one Follow the steps listed above to will begin to peel away. If this 8. Dispose of the scrap paper. mount the print. If youre using happens, press it again. The purpose of the scrap paper spray mount, center the print on is to protect one print while you the mounting board before spray-10. Trim the edges of the mounting spray it. Dont re-use it. Dont ing it, and mark the correct posi- board flush with edges of the leave it lying around. Youll soon tion for each corner. This will photograph. discover that spray mount tends enable you to position it correctly The easiest way to do this is to to get all over everything if you without smearing spray mount all trim a fraction of an inch (say arent careful. If you do get spray over the mounting board. 1/8") off all 4 sides of the print. mount on your print, hands or Use a mat knife if you have one clothing, wipe it off with cotton 3. Place the mounted print face-up and know how to use it safely, or or soft cloth dipped in rubber on a clean surface. just chop the sides off with the cement solvent or thinner. paper cutter. 4. Set the mat face-down along the top of the mounting board. The edges should be touching.254 The Photographic Eye
  • 251. 5. Use an 8" strip of masking tape However you choose to arrange to attach the mat to the moun- them, it is a good idea to mix verticals ting board. and horizontals as evenly as possible. This step is not strictly necessary. You will probably want to separate If you are placing your prints in black-and-white and color prints, but frames, theres really no need to not necessarily. tape the mat to the mounting Before you make your selection, board. Its up to you. decide where the show will be hung and calculate how many prints will fit 6. Fold the mat over the top of the well in the space available. They mounting board. should be at least a foot apart, Dont worry if the tape shows a preferably further. Generally, its a bit, it will be covered by the good idea to hang the photographs in frame. a single row at average eye level. If you do hang all the prints at one 7. Sign your name on the mat just level, be sure it is exactly the same under the lower right-hand cor- level. This may require considerable ner of the print. adjustment, so leave yourself plenty of time for it. 8. Write the title of the photograph Be sure you have a good method (if it has one) on the mat to the of hanging the prints . . . and one Slide Presentations left of your signature (slightly to that wont destroy the walls. One Once youve begun to experiment the right of the prints center). method that is often successful is to with color photography, you may suspend the prints from wires want to produce a slide presentation. 9. If you are producing a numbered attached to the moulding along the This can be done as a solo project or series (such as limited edition), edges of the ceiling. as a group venture. write the print number on the Each photograph should be ac- To be effective, a slide show vir- mat under the lower left corner companied by a small placard with tually has to have an identifiable se- of the print. the name of the photographer, the quence. That sequence may be chron- title of the photograph, the date it ological (the "how I spent my sum- 10. Insert the matted print in a frame was taken (month and year are suf- mer vacation" sort of thing); it may (generally under glass) and show ficient) and where it was taken. be thematic (shifting moods, lighting, it off. In addition, there should be some a linked series of subjects, etc.); kind of sign at the entrance, to attract or it may follow some narrativeHanging a Show attention and suggest the shows structure. There are basically three approaches theme. The theme may be nothing You might want to make your ownto selecting and arranging prints for more than "recent work by the equivalent of a rock video by illus- a show. The first is to group the photography class." It may be as trating a favorite song. This is espe-prints by theme (subject matter, style, vague and suggestive as "light and cially effective if the song is abouttone, mood, etc.). The second is to shadow." Or it may be as specific as some issue you care about (love songsgroup them by photographer (assum- "views of main street." Be certain, can be tricky). You might illustrateing theres more than one). The third however, that the theme is represen- a piece of jazz, folk, classical or con-approach is not to group the prints tative of the show as a whole. temporary instrumental music. Youat all; just put them up in the order In general, a show is an excellent might combine music and narration,they come. Each approach can be opportunity to work as a team. By perhaps using poetry to suggest thequite effective. Base your decision on cooperating and working together, themes of your photographs. Youwhat feels right for all or most of the you can produce something that is might even team up with a musicianparticipants. "greater than the sum of its parts." Manipulation and Presentation 255
  • 252. friend and compose something en- it is not worth showing. Test your • Procedurestirely original. show on some trusted friends before /. Place the photograph you have With any of these approaches, you inflict it on an unsuspecting selected in the enlarger anddont feel tied to a literal expression. public. Do whatever you must to turn the enlarger light on.Instead, try to combine sounds and make it interesting, even if thatimages that evoke the same mood. means cutting out all your prized 2. Set your easel up for aYou might select a piece of music that slides of your parakeet. 2x3 "print and posit ion it so thesuggests a certain environment to you photograph is cropped the way(a forest, mountains, a river, city MANIPULATION you want it.streets, etc.) and shoot a series ofphotographs of that environment. Sometimes you can increase a photo- 3. Place a sheet of tracing paper in However you structure your slide graphs impact and effectiveness by the, a few basic rules will apply. producing a non-standard print of it.First, remember that your primary There are many ways of altering a 4. Draw an outline of objects in thepurpose must be to entertain . . . or prints appearance, some of which are photograph, carefully markingat least to hold your viewers interest. explained in this section. One word the exact location of keyEven if youre sure everyone would of warning: It is very easy to get car- elements. Outline the frame oflove to watch your show till dooms- ried away with these special effects the photograph as well by run-day, dont let it run for more than 20 processes. If youre not careful, you ning your pencil around theminutes. Five minutes is a perfectly may fool yourself into believing that edges of the easels blades.good length. Three minutes is not youre producing great art whennecessarily too short. youre only playing visual games. Try 5. After you have determined the Avoid abrupt shifts of light value to discipline yourself to not indulge proper exposure, expose 22x3"from one image to the next. Dont go in a special effect without a good sheets of photo paper in thefrom a very dark slide to a bright reason. usual way.white one if you can possibly avoidit. Certainly dont do this often. The Kaleidoscope Composite Print 6. Reverse the negative.strain on viewers eyes will seriously By combining 4 2 x 3 " prints of a This is where the outline drawingreduce your shows impact. single photograph into one composite comes in handy. Place it back in Look for color harmonies in your print you can produce startling and the easel (upside down) and lineslides and try to arrange them so the intriguing images with a kaleidoscope up the projected image with it.harmonies are evident. For example, effect. Its important to be as precise Bear in mind that you may needyou might have one slide of someone and neat as possible in assembling the to re-adjust your focus. If so, doholding a red flower. The next slide composite print, so it will appear to this before you line up the imagecould have someone in a red shirt be a single image, rather than 4 pieces with the drawing.standing in the same general area of glued together. For best results, simply turnthe frame as the flower. If that per- Youll generally get better results the negative holder upside down,son is also wearing black pants, your with a photograph that has diagonal without removing the slide might show a blacktop road lines, rather then just vertical and With some enlargers, however,in the same general area as the pants. horizontal lines. Curves, especially if this is not possible. In this case,Establishing these kinds of patterns they run out of the frame, also work youll have to remove thecan help provide a sense of flow. well. The subject mater is virtually ir- negative, turn it upside down, Finally, be a critical editor. There relevant. Any subject can produce an and re-position it in the negativeare few things as dull as a slide show interesting effect . . . if the composi- holder. Some adjustment may befull of photographs that "got tion makes an interesting pattern. required to get everything linedaway" —overexposed, underexposed, up just right.poorly focused, poorly composedshots. If a slide isnt technically good,256 The Photographic Eye
  • 253. 7. Expose 2 more 2x3" sheets. 8. Develop all 4 prints at one time, to ensure that they all come out exactly the same. Its a good idea to hold on to the black plastic bags in which photo paper is usually packaged. Keep them on hand for temporary stor- age of exposed photo paper any- time you want to do this sort of batch processing. As you expose each sheet of photo paper, simply slide it into the bag. When your whole batch is ready for processing, you can then load it into the developer as a group. You will, of course, place each sheet of paper into the developing tray separately, but Student photograph by William Roche. you should be able to immerse the whole batch within a few The second approach, which with relatively high contrast. At the seconds. will probably be easier and very least, be sure that the subject neater, is to cut the dry mount stands out clearly from the back- 9. When your prints are processed tissue to fit each print. Then tack ground, or the final strip print will and dried, experiment to see each print to its own piece of dry just look like mush. which arrangement of them is mount, tack them onto the most effective. mounting board, and press them. • Procedure Notice that you have 4 possible Whichever approach you fol- /. Make 2 prints using exactly the arrangements. Try them all and low, neatness counts. Be sure that same exposure and development decide which produces the most all lines at the edges of the prints time. interesting composition. that are supposed to connect, do If you happen to notice that connect. 2. Attach dry mount tissue to the your prints dont match in ex- back of each photograph with posure or cropping, then do them Strip Composition the tacking iron. over until you get them exactly Another technique for producing sur- right. prising images is to combine 2 prints 3. Trim 1/16" off of one end of one of a single photograph into a single of the prints.10. Mount the prints together onto strip print by cutting the prints into Whether your photograph is ver- a mat board. narrow strips and re-assembling them tical or horizontal, youll gen- This is the tricky part. There are as a single image. erally get the best results by cut- two ways of doing it. The first is Select a photograph that will gain ting it the long way (i.e. cut a ver- to arrange all 4 prints on one impact or expressiveness from the tical print vertically, and a hor- large sheet of dry mount tissue "choppy" look of a strip print. Any izontal print horizontally). So, and anchor them in place with the action photograph is likely to be a for vertical prints, trim 1/16" off tacking iron. Then tack the com- good choice. Faces tend to produce the bottom or top of one of posite print onto a piece of humorous results. Experiment. them. This is to ensure that the mounting board and press it. It is important to use a photograph 2 prints are not quite identical, Manipulation and Presentation 257
  • 254. which improves the effect. Leave the rest of the trim edge intact for now. Do not cut it off. Youll need some space to num- ber the strips, and its handy to have some blank area to work with when you assemble the composite. 4. Cut each print into narrow strips. All the strips (for both prints) should be the same width, about 3/8". Narrower strips work well too (down to about 1/4"). Wider strips are generally less effective. It is very important to keep track of the sequence of the strips (Note: Do not place uncovered • Tools as you cut them. You can either dry mounting tissue in the press.) Lith Film: Normally used to number them in the borders as prepare photographs for printing, lith you go, or measure where your High Contrast film has a very narrow contrast range cuts will be and number the strips A high contrast print (often referred (essentially black-and-white, with no before you cut them. to as a line print) is simply a photo- gray tones) and fine grain structure. It is also important to keep the graph that is all black or white, with Lith Developer: Though a high strips from each print separate. no gray tones at all. A photograph of contrast print can be produced with- You may want to use different this kind has a very dramatic, graphic out using any special chemicals, lith colored pens; or use "A "for one quality. Special "lith" film and developer is specially formulated to print and "B" for the other (i.e. developer are used that are not at all accentuate the high-contrast tenden- Al, A2, A3, etc. and Bl, B2, B3, responsive to gray. cies of lith film. It will convert a nor- etc.); or use numbers for one and For best results, select a negative mal negative to a high contrast pos- letters for the other; or number that will still make sense when all the itive in one step or "generation." With one along the top and the other grays turn either white or black. ordinary film developer, you will along the bottom . . . whatever (Light grays will turn white, dark have to make several "generations" works for you. ones will t u r n black.) It should be (positive and negative copies) of a fairly contrasty to begin with, so the photograph to achieve the same 5. Re-assemble the strips on a mat lith film wont get "confused." effect. board, alternating one strip from Generally, a simple image (one sub- Most lith developers come in two one print with one from the ject against a plain background) parts (A and B). Once they are mixed other. works better than a complicated one. together, the resulting solution tends The easiest way to do this is to use Elaborate patterns can, however, to deteriorate quickly. So, be sure the tacking iron on the borders of make very effective high contrast that you have set aside enough time the strips to stick them to the prints. (and negatives) to make good use of mounting board. Get a bunch of (Note: You can save a few steps if the entire batch before you mix it up. strips (about 1/4 of the total) you have a suitable color slide to Opaquing Compound: Once you tacked in place, press them, tack work from. In this case, your first lith make copies of the original negative another bunch, press them, and film will be a negative. If the contrast on lith film, you can paint out so on until the whole composite looks right, you can then go directly undesirable effects. The "paint" youll print is assembled and pressed. to your final print.) use is opaquing compound (generally258 The Photographic Eye
  • 255. So whats this about? ft hardly mat- ters. The point is that it makes you wonder, which gets your brain go- ing. The high contrast helps by strip- ping the image down to pure essentials. Would this image work as well with a full range of gray tones? (Student photograph by David RiotteJjust called opaque), a sticky red goo Be sure that your enlarger can ac- the entire 4x5" of standard liththat effectively blocks all light and commodate a negative of this film is ideal, since that will givedries quite rapidly. size. If not, then use whatever size you more room to work in and Brushes: Youll of course need you can. If 35mm is your only produce a more detailed print.some brushes to paint on the opaque. option, then simply contact printAny ordinary watercolor brushes will the negative onto the lith film. 2. Stop the enlarger lens down towork, but a relatively fine tip is You may then contact print one f/16.desirable. lith film onto another . . . pro- ducing a final negative that is still 3. Instead of photo paper, place a• Procedures 35mm. piece of lith film on the easel./. Place the negative in the enlarger If, on the other hand, your en- To save on film, which is quite and prepare to make an enlarge- larger can accommodate a neg- expensive, cut each sheet into ment measuring 2 />" X P/," (the ative larger than the 120 size, then about three pieces. Use these for size of a 120 roll-film negative). use the largest size you can. Using your test strips. Manipulation and Presentation 259
  • 256. 4. Make a test strip of at least 10, Solarization /. Start as you normally would to 1-second exposures. A solarized print is produced by mak- make a normal 8x10" print: ing a normal print on film or paper Place the negative in the 5. Develop the test strip in lith and fogging it (exposing it to light) enlarger, crop, focus, determine developer and ordinary stop bath during development. The effect this timing and expose. and fixer. produces is a result of the chemistry of the photographic process. 2. Place the print in the developer 6. Select the shortest exposure that As you know, the developer causes and agitate normally for 1 produces a deep black in the a chemical reaction converting silver minute. darkest shadow areas. crystals to silver metal. The waste material (bromide) of this reaction 3. Let the print sit with no agitation 7. Expose and process a full sheet collects around the edges of the for 1 minute. of lith film. image, forming a wall. In addition, once the normally exposed image has 4. Expose the print to light until it 8. Use the opaquing compound to been developing for awhile, the begins to produce an interesting block out areas that you want to chemical reactions in its area will be result. appear as solid blacks on the slowing down. Therefore, fogging the The print will begin turning gray final print. image causes a greater reaction in the and black at a rapid rate. Let it unexposcd areas. This part turns go for a few seconds, then turn 9. Remove the negative from the black very quickly. Only the wall of off the light. Watch how the print enlarger. bromide remains white. That is what develops and move it into the causes solarization, or (as it is of- stop bath as soon as you like10. Raise the enlarger and make a ficially known) the Sabbatier effect. what youve got. contact test strip of at least 8, 2-second exposures onto a third • Solarizing a Print: Procedures 5. Fix, wash and dry the print piece of lith film (with the aper- This is a very simple process. In fact, normally. ture still set at f/16). if you happen to dig through your darkroom trash, youll probably find • Solarizing a Negative:11. Make a full contact print at the that some prints have solarized Procedure shortest exposure that produces themselves without any help from This process is a bit more compli- a deep black. you. Any print that is exposed to light cated. However, it produces supe- before being fixed will solarize . . . r i o r — a n d more controllable-12. Use the opaquing compound to including any that you throw away results. Since it employs lith film, block out any areas that you without fixing. You can achieve more youll need the same tools as for high want to appear as clear white in aesthetically pleasing results, how- contrast printing. the final print. ever, by playing a more active role. Solarization is a very fluid process: 1. Set up the enlarger to make a13. Cut the the final negative out of one that produces highly varied 2 }/4 " x I A" negative. the lith film, place it in the results with slight variations in tim- enlarger, and focus it as usual. ing. So, once again, experiment by 2. Make a test strip on a piece of changing the timing of each step- lith film.14. Make a test strip on apiece of or- but change them one at a time, so dinary photo paper (#4 or US for youll know what caused the resulting 3. Select the shortest exposure that best results). effect. produces a deep black and ex- pose the image onto a full sheet15. Make your final print at the of lith film. shortest exposure that produces a deep black.260 The Photographic Eye
  • 257. Student photograph by Ray Shaw.4. Process the resulting positive im- 7. Contact print the image onto a 12. Turn the enlarger on and expose age normally. full sheet of lith film. the film for the same amount of Ideally, you should let the film time as you used for your initial dry overnight. If youre in a 8. Place the lith film in lith print (at the same f-stop). hurry, however, you can use a developer and agitate normally The film will turn black. Don! blow dryer to speed things up. for 40 seconds. panic. This is what its supposed to do.5. Raise the enlarger as you would 9. Place the developer tray (with the to make an 8x10" print and film in it) under the enlarger. 13. Agitate the film normally to the remove the negative from it. end of the development time. 10. Stop agitating immediately.6. Make a contact test strip on a 14. Stop and fix the film normally. piece of lith film, again selecting 11. Let the film settle for about 15 After a minute affixing, you may the shortest exposure that pro- seconds (for a total of I minute turn on the room light and ex- duces deep black. of development). amine the film. It should be Manipulation and Presentation 261
  • 258. predominantly black, with a toner is to buy a kit that contains variety of sizes on hand, including at white outline of the image. If the them both. If you cant find the right least one small brush for details. negative has a lot of gray in it, kind of k i t , buy the toner and read double the second exposure. its label to find out what kind of /. For best results, begin with a bleach to use. Toners are available in sepia-toned and mounted print. 15. Cut out the image area and place sepia, blue, red and other colors. A normally exposed black-and- it in the enlarger. white print is likely to be too dark /. Expose and process a print as in the shadow areas to be suitable16. Set the lens to its largest aperture normal. for tinting. If you arent able to and make a test strip with at least The print should be fully fixed use a sepia-toned print, make a 10 30-second exposures. and washed, but need not be lighter-than-normal black-and- Depending on how fully solarized dried. If, however, you want to white print and use that. your negative is, you may need a tone an already dry print, thats Do mount the print before you very long exposure to make your fine too. begin, as the dyes may be sen- final print. Once your original print is sitive to heat. ready, you may work entirely in 17. Make your final print at the ex- normal room light. 2. Wipe the print with a damp cot- posure that produces crisp and ton ball or lint-free cloth or solid black lines (not gray from 2. Soak the print in the bleach solu- sponge. under-exposure or blurred from tion for the specified period of This will enable the surface of the over-exposure). time or until the blacks are re- print to absorb the tints more duced to pale browns (usually 2 evenly. Note: You can make a negative to 3 minutes).image (white lines on a black ground) 3. Dip a cotton ball into water andby making a third lith film copy. This 3. Place the print in the toner then add some dye to it. Use thisversion will be far easier to print, solution. to fill in any large areas, such assince most of the negative will be The image should become clear the sky, a building, foliage, etc.clear. If you have trouble getting a again within a few seconds.good positive print, youre almost 4. Dip a brush into water and addcertain to succeed with a negative 4. Soak the print in the toner, with dye to it. Paint in the smallerone. some agitation, for the specified areas. period of time or until the imageToning and Tinting returns to full strength (about 5 5. Use several layers of thin dye,B&W photographs dont necessarily minutes). rather than a single heavy layer,have to remain black and white. You to achieve dark colors.may want to give the whole image a 5. Wash and dry the printcolor tone, such as the warm, brown, normally. 6. When the print is colored to your"old-fashioned" look of sepia. Alter- satisfaction, simply set it aside tonatively, you may want to add real • Tinting: Tools and Procedure dry for awhile.or imagined colors to a print by Photographic Dyes: Severalpainting it with photographic tints. manufacturers produce dyes specially formulated for tinting photographs.• Toning: Tools and Procedures Ask at your local camera store. Chemicals: Toning is a two-step Cotton Balls: These will be usedprocess. First you bleach the print. to dampen and paint large areas ofThen you re-develop it in a toning the print.solution. The easiest method of ob- Brushes: Any good watercolortaining the right kind of bleach and brushes will do fine. Try to have a262 The Photographic Eye
  • 259. RetouchingEven if you are extraordinarilycareful, sooner or later youre likelyto need to hide a few blemishes on aprint. That bit of dust that justwouldnt go away, a developmentflaw or scratch on the negative, ahighlight that wont quite burn in . . .these are example of situations thatrequire retouching.• Tools and ProceduresThe simplest, least expensive and (inmost cases) least effective retouchingtool is a set of paints (usually black,white and sepia) sold at most photostores. While these can be very usefulfor fixing minor, small flaws, theirutility is very limited. To use thepaints (generally known as spottingcolors), simply rub the tip of amoistened brush in the color youneed, adding water until you have theappropriate shade or tint. Then paintthe color on the print as needed. A more sophisticated alternative isspotting dyes. These actually changethe pigment of the photographicimage, rather then merely covering itup. Use a very finely tipped paint-brush to apply the dye in dots. Neverpaint in lines or strokes, just tap out water so it is a bit lighter than the tled in.a series of small dots until you have area on which you plan to use it. With all dyes, you may need toachieved the result you want. Then blot it almost dry on a lint-free dampen the surface of the print so it Always practice on a print you cloth before starting to work on the will absorb the color well. This isdont care about, to warm up and print. Let it build up slowly to the especially true for RC just the right tone of dye. Some shade you need. Major corrective surgery for aprints will need a warm gray; some Some dyes (such as Spotone™) badly damaged negative or print canwill need a cold gray. Once you feel actually get darker as they soak into be done with airbrushing. If you needready, start working on the actual the print surface. Be especially sure this kind of retouching, get help fromprint, beginning with the lightest to start out light with these, as you someone who already knows how tograys and proceeding to any darker cant remove the dye once it has set- do it.tones you need. Dilute the dye with Manipulation and Presentation 263
  • 260. Photograph by Ron Schloerb. Courtesy The Cape Cod Times.264 The Photographic Eye
  • 261. appendix 4 Advanced TechniquesTOOLS Tripod Any time you need to hold your camera very still, either during or be- tween exposures, you need a tripod. For example, you can probably hand- hold your camera (with a 50mm lens) at 1730 of a second without blurring the shot. With a tripod, the shutter can stay open for as long as needed without blurring. You can also use a tripod to support a long telephoto lens (if the lens needs support, it should come with a tripod mount on the barrel), to pan for action shots, to make accurate multiple-exposures or to make a series of exposures of exactly the same area. Theres no such thing as a goodcheap tripod. Theres also no suchthing as a good small tripod. If atripod is cheap enough to be boughtwithout a second thought, its almostcertainly too flimsy to be useful. Ifits small enough to be carriedwithout a second thought, then itscertainly too flimsy. Plan to spend close to $100 for agood tripod. Also plan to complaina lot about how heavy your tripod is.Dont carry it around unless you ex-pect to need it. A good tripod is, above all, sturdy.When extended to its full height, itshould not wobble, wiggle or shake 265
  • 262. in the wind. Its full height, for most For very long exposures (i.e., over glare on glass, water or other partiallypurposes, should bring the camera at 1 /8 of a second), use a cable release reflective surfaces. It can darken col-least up to your eye level, preferably to avoid camera shake. Unfortu- ors dramatically. And it can makehigher. The tripods head (the nately, some shutters will still pro- clouds far more vivid in contrast toplatform on which the camera is duce a considerable amount of cam- the sky. Though most useful for colormounted) should move through all era shake, especially if the camera is photography, a polarizer can help forconceivable angles (up, down, fairly light and the tripod is unsteady. black-and-white as well. To use one,around, and side to side). It .iliould If your tripod does wobble despite focus on the subject and then turn thelock tight and loosen quickly and your best efforts to make it stand outer rim of the filter. This shifts theeasily. still, you may do better by pressing polarization, often substantially As for options, one hotly debated down hard on top of the camera and altering the image quality.choice concerns the leg releases, pressing the cameras own shutter Color filters have very different ef-which either clip or screw opsn and release. Just be sure you dont wig- fects in black-and-white and in color.shut to unlock and lock the leg exten- gle during the exposure. (This only When used with black-and-whitesions. Clip releases tend to be faster works for exposures down to about film, they can compensate for theto operate and are less likely to 2 seconds.) films limited responsiveness to cer- "freeze up." A short, inexpensive tripod can be tain ranges of the spectrum. A color One option that is unquestionably very useful in emergencies. It will filter lightens the black-and-whitedesirable is a removable or releasable cover your needs for steadiness under rendition of its own color andcamera mount. On the simplest tri- most conditions . . . so long as you darkens its complementary color. pods, the camera screws directly on- can set the tripod on a table or can Red, for example, lightens red and to the tripod head. Unfortunately it get the shot you want from a very low darkens blue.can often be exceedingly difficult to angle. Do not extend the legs if they When used with color film, colored unscrew it. The solution is to have a are at all wobbly. filters can produce subtle or dramatic mount that can be removed or For sports photography requiring shifts in a subjects appearance. Areleased by flipping a lever. long telephoto lenses and other situa- subtle shift might be produced by Additional options that come in tions in which a moderate degree of using a light orange filter to enhancehandy but are not necessary include steadiness will suffice, you might try a sunset, for example, or by using ametal prongs that screw out of the using a monopod, which has one leg light magenta filter to "warm up" therubber tips on the ends of the legs (to instead of three. Since you have to bluish tones of twilight. A dramaticanchor the tripod in soil); a level (to provide the other two legs to hold the shift might be to use a green filter tohelp in aligning the tripod on uneven thing up, it wont be much help for make your friends look like Mar-ground); and a circular scale (for very long exposures. tians. Used carefully and for specificmeasuring off camera positions for purposes, color filters can be verya panoramic series of shots). Filters useful expressive tools. When you use a tripod, first adjust There are essentially three kinds of Finally, special effects filters do allthe legs so the head is just below the filters: atmospheric, colored and sorts of things. Some play tricks withheight you need. Be sure the legs are special effects. Each kind has very light, some play tricks with color,spread out fully. Plant the feet firmly specific uses. some play tricks with your vision. Ain the ground if youre outside. Check The basic atmospheric filters are defraction filter may make everyto be sure that the tripod is sturdy. UV, skylight and polarizing. The first point of light into a starburst or aIf it isnt, adjust it. Attach the camera two have very mild effects on the mini-rainbow or a repeating pattern.body (or lens) and crank the head up quality of the sunlight. Their greatest A multi-color or split-field filter com-to the desired position. Aim the utility is in protecting the lenses from bines two or more colors, such ascamera at your subject. Adjust the accidental damage. purple and yellow, to produce a sur-head (or the legs if necessary) until The polarizing filter is more in- real lighting effect. A multiple imagethe camera is level —line it up with the teresting. Under certain lighting con- or prism filter scatters a series ofhorizon if possible. Shoot away. ditions, it can reduce or eliminate "ghosts" of a subject all around the266 The Photographic Eye
  • 263. image area. Special effects filters (likeprint manipulation) should be usedvery sparingly and only for goodreasons. Used too frequently, theyquickly become boring cliches.Motor DriveIf you need to make several exposuresfairly quickly-as in sports photog-raphy—then a motor drive or autowinder may be a good investment. An auto winder, the less expensivechoice, automatically advances thefilm after each exposure. This is allthe winding assistance that most pho-tographers actually need. A motor drive does the same thing,but does more as well. Generally, amotor drive will trigger 5 exposures,for example, every time you releasethe shutter . . . or 2, or 10, orwhatever number you select. It mayalso have a delay and/or intervaltimer, which will release the shutterafter a specified time or at specifiedintervals. Unless you have a clearneed for these features, a motor driveis primarily an excellent way to wastefilm. Stick with the auto winderunless you have a good reason not to.FlashA modern electronic flash emits avery short (often 1/500 of a secondor less) burst of light that is essen-tially the same color as midday sun-light. To work properly, the shuttermust be in sync with the flash, whichmeans that it must be wide open atthe exact instant that the flash fires.If it isnt, only part of the frame willbe correctly exposed. The traditionalstandard setting for electronic flashsync is 1/60 of a second. Recently,however, theres been a trend towardfaster flash sync speeds (from 1/125of a second all the way to 1/1000),which can more effectively freeze Advanced Techniques 267
  • 264. motion. The flash sync speed should be in-dicated on your shutter speed dial. Itmay appear in a different color thanthe other shutter-speed numbers, orit may be marked with a lightningbolt. Any shutter speed lower thanthe sync speed will work fine with theflash. You may get a flash-and-blureffect at a slower speed, with theflash producing a crisp, bright imageand the rest of exposure producing adarker blur. This can be very effec-tive or disastrous, depending on yourintentions. Most camera-mounted flashes (i.e.non-studio models) offer one or a few f-stop options. If you have a choice, Flash fill can be used to add light to undesirable select the f-stop that will workbest for the range you need to cover • Using a Flash you set your flash for f/5.6 (assum-(the approximate distance between The basic rule for using a flash is this: ing you can) and expose the film atthe flash and the subject). The flash A flash has been used well when it f/8, the subjects face will still bethen sends out an appropriate doesnt appear to have been used at slightly darker than the surroundingamount of light. all. There should be no black ghosts area, but all the features should be More recently designed flashes around your subject, no bleached out clearly visible. With luck and prac- allow you to shoot at any aperture faces, no red dots in the eyes. Unfor- tice, no one will know that you used(with some distance limitations) and tunately, this is a lot easier said than a flash. will pass your instructions along to done. If you set the flash for f/8, the sub-the camera for you (automatically There are two basic applications jects face would be just as well lit as setting the aperture and even the for a flash. One is flash fill, in which anything else in the photograph. Thisshutter speed). Though these models the flash simply adds to the existing tends to produce "flat" effect and iscost over $100, they are very useful light. The other application is con- generally not desirable.if you need a flash often. trolled lighting, in which the flash is What happens if you continue to A camera-mounted flash is trig- the dominant, or only, light source. raise the flashs power? It begins togered through a hot shoe, the little Flash Fill: Often, even when "take over" and control the lighting.clamp above the viewfinder. This youre shooting outside in bright Lets say you set both the flash andsends an electrical impulse to the sunlight, you wont have the right the camera lens at f/16. The back- flash when the shutter opens, so the amount of light in some critical area ground will still be receiving only anflash knows when to fire. Some of your composition. A subjects face f/8 amount of light (assuming the flashes can also be connected to the may be in shadow, for example, or flash doesnt reach far enough to lightcamera by a cord attached to the X- the background may be too bright. everything up). So, the subject willsync outlet on the camera body. This Situations like these call for flash fill. now be brighter than the surroundingpermits you to place the flash In the first case (a subjects face in area. The effect will be a bit odd, butsomewhere other than on top of the shadow) you can use the flash to may be very dramatic and interestingcamera, which often produces a more balance the lighting. Lets say the as well.natural lighting effect. overall light of your image area calls Depending on the flexibility of for an exposure of f/8 at 60 (remem- your flash, and how well you learn ber to use the flash sync speed!). If to use it, you can gain a tremendous268 The Photographic Eye
  • 265. amount of control over everydaylighting situations. Controlled Lighting: But whatabout the non-everyday situations?Perhaps you need to shoot indoors orat night. You will then have to relyon your flash as the primary or solelight source. This is a good deal moredifficult than flash fill. While you can get good fill resultswith virtually any flash, controlled lighting pretty well requires a flash with an adjustable head. At the very least, it should swivel sideways. Ideally it will swivel up and down as well. In addition, a flash equipped with its own light meter (which tellsit when to stop firing) will produce Attaching a white card enhances the effectiveness of "bouncing" the flash off far more consistent results with far a ceiling indoors.less hassle than one that you mustcontrol manually. But, here again, very commonly used. Shooting for Publication make do with what you have. Wrap a rubber band around the If you hope to have some of your The first rule for controlled flash head and slip the card in under photographs published (dont we lighting with a flash is never point the it, with most of the card sticking out all?), youll have a head start if youre flash directly at your subject. There beyond the head. Angle the flash so familiar with some basic guidelines. are, of course, exceptions to this it is aimed above the subject (bounc- First of all, it is a very good idea rule . . . but not many. Direct flash ing off the ceiling if possible). As to obtain releases from everyone you tends to produce stark and un- most of the light from the flash photograph. It is required for vir- pleasantly artificial lighting. Instead, shoots upwards, part of it will be tually all journalistic photography. A try to bounce the flashs light off reflected from the white card directly release is a signed contract giving you something, which will soften it and into the subject. The light that hits permission to use a persons photo- spread it around more naturally. the ceiling will help to illuminate the graph in certain ways. If you have a Indoors, the ceiling often works surrounding space. With luck and photograph published without a perfectly for this purpose, if it is skill, you can produce very adequate release, theres always a chance youll fairly low and light in color. Angle and natural lighting with this tech- be sued for invasion of privacy, your flash head (assuming it is ad- nique, indoors or out. (Look closely misusing a persons image or causingjustable) so its light will shoot up to at the next press conference you see them some kind of damage (finan-the ceiling and bounce down right on on TV and youre certain to spot a cial, emotional, etc.). Heres a sam-the primary subject of your photo- few photographers using this trick.) ple release:graph. If your angle is too low, the You can often find or concoctlight will end up behind the subject. other reflecting surfaces as well: aIf its too high, it will light a little pool white wall, a window (which canat your subjects feet. reflect light from the inside as well as If you dont have access to a nice let it in from the outside), a largewhite ceiling (or even if you do), you sheet of white paper or mat board,can steal a trick from photo- etc. Keep your eyes open and youlljournalists: the white card. Any card generally find what you need.will do; a standard 3 x 5 note card is Advanced Techniques 269
  • 266. Use only the release portion (the first On a more technical note, its im- produces the dots. This process haspart) for anyone over 18 years of age. portant to know how publication will two effects.Have a parent or adult sign the con- affect the quality of your photo- First, it increases the photographssent form for anyone younger. graphs. An offset printing press cant mid-range contrast. All the subtle Dont panic every time you generally print gray. Instead, it grays get separated out into a fewphotograph someone without getting reduces the gray tones in a photo- basic values. The lightest graysa release. First of all, as an artist you graph to varying densities of black become white (or almost white) andhave considerable protection. It is dots. The dots are close together in the darkest ones become black (oronly when you begin pursuing pho- the dark areas and far apart in the almost black). Second, the screeningtography as a business that releases light areas. This creates the impres- process decreases the photographsreally become necessary. The laws sion of a continuous tone photograph overall latitude —the total range ofvary from state to state, so it would (which is what your original is called). tones from black, through gray, tobe a good idea to check things out A photograph prepared for publi- white. This is because a halftone nor-with a knowledgeable editor or cation is called a halftone. It has been mally cannot produce either purelawyer if you plan to sell your photo- screened —copied onto high-contrast black or pure white. There are alwaysgraphs for publication. (lith) film through a screen, which some white spaces in the black areas270 The Photographic Eye
  • 267. and some black dots in the whiteareas. Both these effects are most extremewhen the photograph is printed onnewsprint, which requires very largedots. Good quality magazine paperis more responsive, but still a far cryfrom photo paper. Some art bookscome quite close to matching thequality of the original print . . . butyoure probably a few years fromthat yet. In essence, this means that in mostcases your photograph wont looknearly as good in a magazine as itdoes on your wall. A contrastyprint —with clear blacks and whites —will look fairly similar, though the Photographs that are reproduced by standard publishing techniques, such ascontrast will increase. A low-contrast all of the photographs in this book, are first "screened." This reduces all tones-print may turn into a smudge, espe- white, gray and black—to dots of varying sizes. This is an enlargement of acially when printed on newsprint. photograph used elsewhere in this book. You can minimize the damage byshooting with publishings constraints duce much more accurately in a pub- Finally, before you abandon yourin mind. Always try to have your cen- lication than black-and-white. In most prized transparency into thetral subject fill the frame (so it gets general, bright and saturated (strong) hands of a stranger (or a friend, foras many dots as possible). Try to colors will work best. Good contrast that matter) its a very good idea tophotograph your subject against a will help make the focus seem nice get a signed contract stating whatcontrasting background. A white wall and crisp. The problem area generally rights you have if the original is dam-will set off someones face and hair is shadows, which tend to become aged. Generally, you should expect tobetter than a gray or black one. murky and blotchy. For this reason, receive some extra payment if the The standard format for black- it is especially important that faces transparency cannot be printedand-white is an 8x 10" glossy print and other key features be well lit. again. Anything from $50 to $200 is( 5 x 7 " for newspapers). The print For color work, most publishers a reasonable starting point. A pub-should have a label taped or glued to prefer to receive 35mm transparen- lisher who values your photographthe back with your name, copyright cies. The films that produce the best enough to use it should be prepared(i.e. © 1988), when and where the results are Kodachrome (ISO 25 or to guarantee its safekeeping.photograph was taken, the name(s) 64) and Fujichrome (especially ISOof any identifiable person(s) in it and 50), both of which have very finea note indicating that you have a grain and good contrast. Ektachromerelease if you do (i.e., Release on is weak on both counts (grain andFile). contrast) and is not recommended for With color, the rules change a bit. general publication work.The photograph is still reduced to On the slide mount you shoulddots, but this time the dots are in the write your name, copyright, when4 primary colors (yellow, magenta, and where the photograph was taken,blue and black) and they overlap in the name(s) of any identifiable per-a sort of daisy-shaped pattern. Color son^) and a note about a release ifphotographs actually tend to repro- you have one. Advanced Techniques 271
  • 268. Cropping Ls. Trace these templates onto paper, then mount on card-board to make your own cropping "tools." (See page 65.)
  • 269. Mat frame. Trace this frame, cut it out, mount it on cardboard, and useit to select strong photographic compositions. (See page 64.) 273
  • 270. BibliographyBooks graphic topics. Some (notably The Photographers Handbook, The Book Joy of Photography, published by of Photography, The Art of ColorBooks on photography move in and Addison-Wesley, and The Complete Photography and John Hedgecoesout of bookstores at a rapid rate. Kodak Book of Photography, Pocket Guide to Practical Photog-Many of this years books will be published by Crown) are essentially raphy) should be included in everyreplaced by new ones next year, if not "idea" books, containing a mix of in- photographic library. All of themsooner. Any list of specific titles, formation and photographs. They provide brief and precise answers totherefore, is likely to be only briefly wont answer all your questions, but a host of "How do I . . . ?"valid and unlikely to be very helpful. they will make you want to get out questions.Fortunately, several excellent writers and try new things. Others (such asand important topics find their way the DATAGUIDE series and a ICP The International Center ofinto print year after year. As points variety of how-to manuals) provide Photography, based in New York,of reference, theyre likely to be more more detailed information than produces one of the most impressiveuseful than specific titles. youre ever likely to need. Kodak photographic reference books, the The following list, then, is intended books are sold in many camera Encyclopedia of Photography (pub-as a general guide. Though some stores, as well as in bookstores. lished by Pound Press). Everythingtitles are mentioned, the authors and from biographies of majortopics are more important. Check Equipment Manuals These are photographers to explanations ofyour local bookstore or library for published by the manufacturers of photographic theory and practice isnew or old books by these authors or cameras and accessories, as well as by covered in this enormous (and expen-about these topics: independent publishers. They include sive) book. In addition, ICP is specialized guides to the use of brand- responsible for numerous collectionsDavis, Phil Author of several ex- name cameras (such as Canon SLR of photographs published in conjunc-cellent instruction manuals. His Cameras and Nikon SLR Cameras, tion with museum textbook, Photography both published by HP Books) and(published by Wm. C. Brown Pub- more general summaries of important Inspiration The list of books thatlishers), is a detailed introduction to accessories (such as Flash contain collections of photographs isphotographic theory and practice. It Photography, also by HP Books). virtually endless. Every photographeris highly recommended for anyone For publications of this kind, check should regularly spend time admir-with an interest in the technical side in camera stores as well as bookstores ing, critiquing and learning fromof photography. and libraries. books like these. Fortunately, almost any bookstore or library will provideEastman Kodak The "editorial Hedgecoe, John One of the most ample opportunity to do so. Someteam" of this renowned film and prolific and competent authors of all- noteworthy publishers of photo-camera m a n u f a c t u r e r produces purpose "how-to" guides. At least one graphic collections include The Newbooks on a wide range of photo- of Hedgecoes books (including The York Graphic Society, Aperture, and 275
  • 271. The Museum of Modern Art (of New the more specific titles, however, will System Manual, by Minor White,York). ever show up in your local bookstore, Richard Zakia and Peter Lorenz or even in the library. If you want (published by Morgan and Morgan).Processing If you spend much time more information than you can findworking in the darkroom, especially in the usual general interest books, Magazinesif you want to explore advanced tech- try looking in Books in Print, a stan-niques, youll probably want more dard reference available for use in There are many magazines and otherguidance than weve offered in the both bookstores and libraries. Most periodicals devoted to photography, Appendix. There are essentially three bookstores will be happy to place an from glossy, mass-market monthlieskinds of books for this purpose: order for you, and may even be able to simple camera club newsletters.general manuals, special technique to convince a library to do so as well. The following list covers those thatmanuals and standard reference Examples of the kinds of books you are most commonly available. Thebooks. might find include John Shaws best way to make your selection is to A good general manual will help Closeups in Nature (Amphoto) and find a bookstore or drugstore with anyou select and use equipment, explain Frame It: A Complete Do-It- Yourself extensive magazine rack and browse. both basic and advanced procedures Guide to Picture Framing by Lista and offer helpful tips. Examples in- Duren (Houghton Mifflin). American Photographer If youclude The Basic Darkroom Book by consider advertising photography toTom Grimm (Plum Books), Basic Time-Life Another editorial team. be as important as traditional land- Guide to B& W Darkroom Techniques The Time-Life Library of Photog- scapes (as many contemporary pho-(part of the "Learn Photography raphy is an extensive (and expensive) tographers do) then youll probablySeries" published by HP Books) and series of books whose titles include like American Photographer. If youBeginners Guide to Color Darkroom Color, Photojournalism and The enjoy a slick and occasionally flip- Techniques by Ralph Hattersley Great Themes. They are all good pant style, then youll probably love(Doubleday/Dolphin). A special reference books, though youll prob- it. At the very least, Americantechnique manual may cover any- ably want to check them out of your Photographer is more enthusiasticthing from high-contrast processing local library, rather than buy them. than most photography the production of museum-quality In terms of content, it is primarilyprints. Examples include Darkroom devoted to discussing photographersMagic by Otto Litzel (Amphoto) and, Vestal, David The author of and showing their work, rather thanfor advanced Zone System work, numerous instruction books stressing to explaining how their results wereAnsel Adams The Negative and The black-and-white photography and achieved or what tools they used.Print (New York Graphic Society). processing. His books (especially TheDarkroom reference books provide Craft of Photography) are excellent Aperture This is the classicvery detailed information on films, resources for anyone wishing to photography magazine: a very seriouspapers, chemicals and procedures. achieve a high level of technical skill. publication, almost solely devoted toExamples include The Photographic presenting the work of art photog-Lab Handbook by John Carrol Zone System The exposure control raphers. It is elegantly designed and(published by Amphoto) and such technique of Ansel Adams and his beautifully printed. Every photog-Kodak publications as How to Pro- disciples. If youre interested in pro- rapher should own at least one issue.cess Ektachrome Slides Using Process ducing exquisite prints of subjectsE-6 and Kodak Black-and-White that will sit still for a long time (like Darkroom Photography ForPhotographic Papers. buildings and rocks), then the Zone anyone wishing to master the dark- System is an essential tool. It has room, Darkroom Photography is anSpecial Techniques If youre in- been explained in numerous books by important resource. It contains aterested in some particular aspect of numerous authors, including Adams good mix of detailed "how-to"photography, odds are that someone himself. Probably the best known guides, equipment reviews and collec-has written a book about it. Few of book on this subject is The New Zone tions of inspirational photographs.276 The Photographic Eye
  • 272. Modern Photography Both Mod- Popular Photography See Modernern Photography and its near-twin, Photography.Popular Photography, are utterlypractical. Both are primarily about Zoom Rather aggressively off-beat,photographic tools. Most articles Zoom is the main forum for whateither evaluate a new product might be described as new-wave pho-(camera, film, lens, etc.) or compare tography. Stylistically, it favors bold,several that are similar. Collections gritty imagery with a strong urbanof photographs illustrating a specific flavor. It is primarily devoted to col-technique are another common fea- lections of work by contemporaryture. At least half of the reason to photographers. (Parental discretion isread either magazine is the ads, both advised.)the manufacturers own and the mail-order listings in the back. Manufacturers Magazines Several leading camera manufacturers pub-Petersons Photographic This one is lish magazines to show off thesomething of an oddball. Despite a photographs produced with theirstyle of writing and photography that cameras. These magazines are equallyare notably outdated, Petersons useful for inspiration and critiquing,Photographic is one of the most even if you happen to own a com-useful photography magazines avail- petitors camera. Minoltas is par-able. It is filled with very practical ticularly good.step-by-step instructions on every-thing from studio lighting to buildinga homemade synchronizing flash trig-ger. The photographs are rarelybetter than mediocre, but the infor-mation is great. Bibliography 277
  • 273. GlossaryAperture Ring The ring on the lens compresses all colors into a narrow Film Speed The rate at which filmof a manual camera which controls range of grays. High contrast reacts to light. A fast film reacts morethe size of the aperture. separates the colors so the darkest quickly than a slow one. Film speed tones are very black and the lightest is measured as ISO and/or ASAAperture The size of the lens open- tones are very white, often with little numbers. ISO 400 is twice as fast asing. Apertures are measured by or no gray in between. Normal con- ISO 200.dividing the focal length of the lens trast provides black blacks, whiteby the diameter of the opening. For Fixed Focal-Length Lens Any lens whites and a wide range of grays asexample a lens with a focal length of for which the angle-of-view is not ad- well.50mm opened to a diameter of 6mm justable (since extending the length ofwould produce an aperture (or f-stop) Critique The process, usually con- the lens narrows the angle at whichof f/8, or 1/8 the focal length. ducted in groups, of evaluating the light can enter it). For example, a strengths and weaknesses of one or 50mm fixed focal-length lens willASA/ISO Standard numbers indi- more photographs. always have a 55-degree angle-of-cating film speed. view. Any lens that does not have a Cropping Trimming the borders of fixed focal-length is a zoom. (SeeCable Release A flexible cablewhich takes the place of a cameras a photograph, generally to improve focal length and zoom.)shutter release button, allowing a composition. Though the term usually refers to trimming done on a Fixed Lens A lens that is per-photographer to "click" the shutter manently attached to a camera body. finished print, cropping may be donewithout shaking the camera. Used by moving the camera before takingprimarily for photography in low Focal Length In a general sense, a photo, or by raising the enlarger solight, when long exposures are focal length refers to the distance that that less than the full photograph ap-required. light travels between entering the lens pears in the print. It is generally and arriving at the film. Longer focalComposition The arrangement of preferable to crop before the print is lengths produce a telescope effect,objects within the frame of a completed. shorter focal lengths produce a wide-photograph. Dynamic Balance A composition in angle effect.Contact Print A photograph pro- which the visual elements are Focal Point The point at which allduced by placing the negative in con- arranged to produce a sense of har- the rays of light from a single objecttact with the photo paper under a mony and to suggest motion of some converge, causing the object to be inlight. For 35mm film, a contact print kind. focus. By extension, the focal pointis almost exclusively used to test the F-Stop N u m b e r indicating a of a photograph is the object onnegatives quality and provide a specific aperture (or lens opening), which the lens is focused. Other ob-record of the photographs on it. such as f/16. Higher numbers in- jects may of course be in focus asContrast The range of values in a dicate smaller apertures (f/16 is well.photograph or subject. Low contrast smaller then f/11). See Aperture. 279
  • 274. Focusing Ring The ring on a lens Proportion The relative sizes of two Value The range of dark and lightwhich moves the lens forward and or more objects within the frame of tones in a photograph.back, causing objects to go in and out a photograph. (Proportion may also Viewfinder The cameras "win-of focus at the film plane. refer to the contours of a single sub- dow," which shows the photographer ject which, if distorted, may appear the image that will appear on theGround-Glass Focusing Screen A to be "out of proportion.") film. Many viewfinders also indicatepiece of glass with a matte finish on-to which t h e camera projects the Relation Anything that links two or the amount of light entering the lens,same image as it is projecting at the more objects together, such as a the shutter speed and other technicalfilm plane, permitting the photog- similarity, contrast or contact bet- data.rapher to compose and focus. ween them. Visual Elements All the basic com-H i g h l i g h t s B r i g h t areas of a Shutter A mechanical device which ponents of an image. An element isphotograph or subject. uncovers a single frame of film for a fundamental unit, such as line, a specified period of time so light which cannot be broken down intoInterchangeable Lens Any lens that traveling through a lens can produce smaller parts.may be removed from the camera an image.body and, therefore, exchanged for Visual Harmony Any repeatinganother. Shutter Release A mechanical or visual element, such as a line or cir- electrical button which causes the cle or a larger pattern of shapes andMass The apparent weight of an ob- shutter to open. values. Visual harmonies are used toject in a photograph, as indicated by add i n t e r e s t a n d s t r u c t u r e toits size, tone (dark objects generally Shutter Speed The time that a shut- photographs.appear more massive), position and ter remains open, expressed in frac-shadow. tions of a second (i.e. 1/125 of a sec- Weighting Positioning key subjects ond, commonly referred to simply as toward one side or the top or bottomNegative Space The space between 125). of a object and the frame of a pho-tograph, or between two or more ob- Split-Image Focusing Screen A Zoom Lens Any lens of variablejects within the frame. piece of glass (generally a small cir- focal length, i.e. with an adjustable cle in the viewfinder) onto which two angle-of-view. A 35-150mm zoomObjective (adjective) Factual; not fragments of an image are projected lens, for example, provides the sameinfluenced by a persons feelings or by the cameras lens (or lenses). When focal-lengths as a 35mm, a 50mm andopinions. the two fragments are aligned, the a 150mm lens, plus all the focalPoint of Interest The object in a image is in focus. lengths in between.photograph that attracts the most at- Static Balance A composition intention. Ideally the point of interest which the visual elements areis also the primary subject (what the arranged to produce a sense of har-photograph is "about"), but this is mony with no suggestion of motion.not always the case. Subjective (adjective) DependentPositioning Placing an object on a persons values, tastes orwithin the frame of a photograph. opinions.Generally this is done by moving thecamera rather than by moving the Telephoto Lens Any lens thatobject. reproduces a smaller than normal portion of a given scene, so objectsPositive Space The space filled by seem closer and larger than they ac-an object. tually are.280 The Photographic Eye
  • 275. IndexAdams, Ansel, 23, 152, 168, 197 black-and-white film: cameras:advanced techniques, tools, 265-269 chemicals for, 227-228 accessories for, 44aesthetics, 75 and filters, 266 body of, inside, 45-47agitation, during processing, 230-231, p r i n t i n g , 232-239 choosing, 35-36 238, 241, 261 processing, 227-232 early, 17, 22angle of view. 129- 131, 138 values and, 247 types of, 12, 17, 22-23, 36-37a n t i - s t a t i c brush, 233, 237 b l a c k - a n d - w h i t e photos, 119, 270-271 camera shake, 73, 140-141aperture, 44, 113-115, 125, 126, 139, black-and-white p r i n t s , t o n i n g and Cameron, J u l i a Margaret, 13 198, 212 t i n t i n g , 262 cartes-de-visite, 13 and clarity, 73 Blacks, and photography. See Van Cartier-Bresson, Henri, 21, 24, and portraits, 182 Dcr Zee, James 198-199 standard, 83-84 bleach, 262 center of interest, 206 testing, 48 blower-brush, 233 center-weighted averaging meters, 122aperture ring, 46-47, 113, 115, 139 blurs, 71, 73-74, 129-134, 167, 206, changing bag, 240Arbus, Diane, 23, 210 240 chemicals:Archer, Frederick Scott, 13 avoiding,132 for b l a c k - a n d - w h i t e f i l m , 227-229,architecture and environment exercise on, 134 234 (exercise), 172 u n w a n t e d , 240 for toning, 262art, photography as, 16, 18-19,21, bottles (exercise), 162 children: 23, 184, 209 bounce (Hashs light), 269 exercise, 190ASA/ISO, 42. See also ISO Bourke-White, Margaret, 22, 28-29 as subjects, 204Atget, Eugene, 21 bracketing, 123, 127, 191,214,248 circles, 107, 109atmospheric filters, 266 and color, 248 exercise, 110a u t o m a t i c cameras, 36-37 exercise on, 127 Civil War, photography of, 14autowindcr, 267 portraits, 191 clarity, 70-71, 73-74, 168average gray, 119, 121 Brady, Mat hew, 14-16 collodian process, 13 brassai, 21 color cast, 245balance, 74, 76 Bravo, Manuel Alvare, 24 color f i l m , 17, 243-244 and composition, 60-63 brushes, 23, 259, 262 bracketing, 248 dynamic, 63, 74 b u r n e r s , 238-239 complexity of, 245-247 of information and mood, 118 b u r n i n g ( i n ) , 238-239 contrast in, 257 of l i g h t , 268 cropping, 251 static, 63 cable release, 43, 183,266 expense and, 251base tints, 232 calotype, 13 technical considerations, 249 251battery, 43-44 camera back release, 44-45 value and,247-248bicycle (exercise), 154 camera obscnra, 11 Index 281
  • 276. color harmonies, 256 dead space, 61 enlargements: color photos, 22, 23 "decisive moment," 198 procedures, 236-238 and publication, 271 detraction filter, 266 tools for, 236color reversal film, 249 depth, line and, 90 enlarger, 232-237, 256, 259, 261-262color saturated style, 248 depth of field, 44, 73, 115, 124-126, environment, 59, 154, 164, 179color theme, 245-247 140, 206 architecture and (exercise), 172composition, 158 decreased, 140 familiar 192 aspects of, 74-75 depth of field preview button, 44 natural, 168, 170, 172 and balance, 60-62 depth of field scale, 47 evaluation, of prints, 67-75 controlling, 167-168, 170 density (of color), 247 Evans, Walker, 22, 24 and dynamics, 62-63 detail portrait (exercise), 194 expenses, photography, 36, 39, 235, elements of, 51 developer, 227,229-231 244,251,265 and portraits, 181 developer tray, 261 exposures, 113-115, 119 and structure, 53-56, 59-60 developing reel, 229-230 double, 240 tips on, 58-59 developing tank, 227-231 and portraits, 181 and visual interest, 152 developing trays, 233, 261 expression, as objective, 152compressed air, 233 direction, and line, 87-89 "extender," 140computers: disasters, with film, processing, camera and, 25 240-241 faces, 187, 190, 206, See also Portraits in cameras, 35 distance, and blurring, 131, 133 fairs (exercise), 200consent (permission), 270 dodgers, 238-239 farm (exercise), 176construction sites (exercise), 179 dodging (out), 239-239 fiber-based paper, 238contact print, 40 double exposures, 240 field of view, 138 procedures, 234-235 "doubler," 140 50 mm lens, 38-39 tools for, 234-235 dry mounting: film:contact printing frames, 234 procedures, 253-254 black-and-white. See black-and-contact sheet, 235 tools, 253 white filmcontainers, airtight, 229 dry mount tissue, 253-254, 257 color. See color filmcontext, 71 dust, 240 disasters with, 240-241continuous tone, 270 and film, 231-233 early, 17contours, 105, 109 on negative, 237 grain of, 37-38contract, 271 dynamic balance, 63, 74 loading, 49contrast, 68-71, 98, 100, 134, 214 dynamics, 62-64, 76 printing, 232-239 251,271 processing, 227-232 in color film, 257 easel, 237,256, 259 sensitivity of to light, 119controlled lighting, 268-269 Eastman, George, 17 speed of, 22, 42, 251critique, sample (exercise), 76 Edgerton, Harold, 22 film advance lever, 43critique sessions, 67-68, 76 edges, of photo, 58, 60 film-advance sprocket, 46cropping, 65, 74, 75, 156, 176, 178, eggs (exercise), 158 film canister, 228-229 256 eighteen percent gray, 119, 121 film carton, 42 and color film, 251 Eisenstat, Alfred, 22 film cleaners, 233 exercise, 65 ektachrome (color film), 251 film developer, 227, 229-231 and portraits, 194 elders (exercise), 187 film latitude, 119 electronic flash, 267 film plane, 138Daguerre, Louis Jacques Mande, Emerson, Peter Henry, 16 film spool, 45 12-13 emulsion, 12,227-228,230 filters, 240, 266-267daguerreotype, 12-13 on color film, 251 fixed-focal length lens, 39, 142Davison, George, 16 on negative, 236-237 on paper, 233282 The Photographic Eye
  • 277. fixed lens, 36 hot shoe, 43 lens (enlarger), 262fixer, 228-229, 231,238 hubcaps (exercise), 156 lens release and mount, 47flash, 22, 203,267-269 Life magazine, 22, 28 using, 268-269 imagery, and color f i l m , 245-247 light, 113-127, 165, 167-168,203flash-and-blur effect, 268 image tone, 232 artificial, 212flash fill, 247, 268 implied lines, 62-63 controlled, 268-269flashlight, as light source, 212 incident light, 120-121 and film, 119focal length, of lens, 126, 138, 140 indicator stop b a t h , 228 and information, 117 increasing, 140 interchangeable lens, 36 low, 139focal point, 124, 126 interneg, 249 metering, 120-121focus, 23,70, 73 interval timer, 228 modifying, 118-119focusing, 125-126, 176 ISO, 83-84 and mood,d 118, 174 in advance, 198 and color, 248 and portraits, 182 184, 190, 191 and portraits, 181 range of, 68, 127focusing ring, 46-47, 73 journalistic photography, 269. See also reflected, 120-121fog: photojournalism texture and, 96, 100 on negative, 241 value and, 68 on paper, 283 kaleidoscope composite print, and visual interest, 152foreground, elongated (exercise), 224 procedures, 256-257 light meter, 119. 120-123, 197-198frame, mat, 64 Karsh, Yousef, 23 hand-held, 212freezing, 129, 132 Kertesz, Andre, 21 internal, 42f/stop, 44, 47. See also aperture kodachrome (color film), 251, 271 not relying on, 83fujichrome (color film), 251, 271 kodak camera, 17 using, 121-123 light-tight, 227glasses, bottles and (exercise), 162 Land, Edwin, 22 line, 56, 62-63, 74-75, 97, 108glazer, 238 landscape, 197 as subject in photogrphic theory,grab shots, 181-182, 198 exercise, 170 87-91gray card , 1 2 2 Lange, Dorothea, 22 curved,91grain (of film), 37-38, 227, 236, 271 latitude (of photo), 270-271 horizontal, 59grain focuser, 236-237 leader, film, 229 implied, 62-63grain structure (color film), 251 leaves (exercise), 100 straight, 90-91grease pencil, 40, 234 leg releases (tripod), 266 vertical, 59great depression, photographic survey leica camera, 17 line p r i n t , 258-260 of, 22 lens, lenses (camera), 46, 73 l i t h developer, 258, 260-261group f.64, 152 and angle of view, 130 131 lith film, 258-261 choosing, 38-39 lupe, 234Haas, Ernst, 23 fast, 139 lustre, 232half-stop, 115 fixed focal length, 36, 142halftone, 270 focal length of, 126 manipulation, procedures, 256-257hand-held light meter, 121, 220 function of, 46 manual cameras, 36-37. 39hands (exercise), 186 interchangeable, 36 manual-override, 37harmony, visual, 107 normal, 138 mass, 103head (of tripod), 266 and perspective, 138-140 mat board, 257-258high contrast print: and point of view, 145-146 mat frame (exercise), 64 procedures, 259-260 portrait, 140 matte texture, 232 tools, 258-259 ranges of, 39 matting, procedures, 253-255 slow, 139 Meyerowitz, Joel, 244Hine, Lewis, 13-14,28 telcphoto, 138-142 monopod, 266Hockney, David, 25 zoom, 23, 39, 141-142 Index 283
  • 278. monotone (exercise), 214 panning, 132 portraits, 26-28,63, 181-195, 197mood, 117-118, 165 paper, photographic, 40, 69-70, 232, exercises, 188-195 light and, 174 235, 238 portrait session, 183 line and, 90-91 surface texture of, 232 positive session, 183 as objective, 152 weight of, 232 positive space, 60 and portraits, 183, 186, 191, 195 paper cutter, 263 presentation, 74, 253-256mood portrait (exercise), 195 patterns, 95-96, 154, 156, 174, 178, primary subject, 62motion, 129-133 202, 256 printing, tools of, 232-235 blurred (exercise), 134 exercise, 92 prints: visible, 115 and line, 87-89 color, 244, 249motor drive, 43-44, 267 recurring, 170 evaluation of, 67-75mounting board, 253-255, 257 people, photographing, 181-195. See mounting, 256-257mounting press, 253 also portraits non-standard, 256-262movement, line and, 87-89 permission (for subjects), 182, 187 screened, 270-271multi-color filter, 266 188,202,269-271 sepia-toned, 262multiple-exposure control, 44 perspective, 56, 137-145, 167, 172, solarizing, 260m u l t i p l e image filter, 266-267 176, 178 strip, 237Muybridge, Eadweard, 14, 16 lenses and, 138-140 prism filter, 266-267 photographers, famous, 11-16, 18-24, privacy, and portraits, 182naturalists, 16 28, 152, 168, 184, 197-199,214 procedures:negative, 228, 238 photographic dyes, 262 contact prints, 234-235 reversing, 256 photography: dry mounting,m 253-254 solarizing, 260-261 as art, 16, 18-19,21,23, 184,209 enlargements, 236-238negative clips, 228 careers in, 26-28 high contrast print, 259-260negative file, 231-232,235 and computer, 25 kaleidoscope composite print,negative image, 262 defined, 51-52, 84 256-257negative space, 58, 60, 74, 76, 160, freelance, 26-28, 31 manipulation, 256-257 216 history of, 11-31, 152, 168, 184,210 matting, 254-255 using, 105-109 issues in, 197 processing film, 229-231neighborhoods (exercise), 174 for p u b l i c a t i o n , 269-271 retouching, 263Newman, Arnold, 27 as seeing, 84 solarizing, 260-262Niepce, Isadore, 12 staff, 27 sirip composition, 257-258Niepce, Joseph Nicephore, 11-12 photography show, hanging, 255 tinting, 262night (exercise), 212 photojournalism, 22-23, 27, 28, 197 toning, 262nine-zone grid, 54, 59, 75 "photo secession," 18, 20 processing, film, 227-241normal lens, 39, 138. See also 50 mm pictorialists, 16, 152, 184 disasters in, 240-241 lens places, photographing, 167-179 history, 17 plastic sheets (for storage), 40 negative file, using, 231-232object and shadow (exercise), 160 playgrounds (exercise), 204 printing, 232-239old things (exercise), 160 point of departure setting, 83-84, 87, procedures, 229-231opaquing compound, 258-259 113-115, 158, 162 tips for, 228-229open markets (exercise), 202 point of interest, 74 tools of, 227-228optical center, 138 point of view, 145 proportion, 103, 108ovals (exercise), 110 exercise, 146 prop portrait (exercise), 192overdeveloping, for contrast, 134 polarizing filter, 266 props, 192 polka dots, on film, 241 publication, shooting for, 269-271palette, 245,247 Porter, Eliot, 23, 245 pushing (the film), 251palm reading (of l i g h t ) , 122-123,222 portrait lens, 140284 The Photographic Eye
  • 279. rain (exercise), 203 silhouette, 117, 179 primary, 62range of light, 68 exercise, 216 secondary, 62"rapid fixer," 228 slide presentation, 255-256realists, 152 slides, color, 244, 249 lacking iron, 253, 257, 258reflected light, 120-121 SLR (single lens reflex), 22 taillights (exercise), 156Rejlander, Oscar, 16 snapshots, vs. photographs, 51 take-up reel, 46relation, 103-105, 124 soft focus, 70 Talbot, William Henry Fox, 12release (permission), 269-270 soft-light portrait, (exercise), 190 telephoto lens, 39, 138-142, 162, 206retouching, 31 solarization: temperature bath, 229 tools and procedures, 263 of negative, 260-262 temperature control, and color film,rewinder, 43 of print, 260 244rewind release, 43 spatial relation, 103-105, 110 tension, 206rhythm: special effects, and prints, 256-262 visual, 107 and light, 123-124 split-field filter, 266 test strip, 235,259-261 line and, 91 sports, photographing, 206, 266-267 texture, 95-98, 108, 117, 165, 232Robinson, Henry Peach, 16 exercise, 206 things, photographing, 151-165rules: spotlight, on subject, 246-247 objectives of, 151-152 for achieving objectives, 197-198 spot meter, 120-121 35 mm lens, 38-39 breaking, 209-214 spotting colors, 263 timer, 253 spotting dyes, 263 liming:sabbatier effect, 260 spray mount, 253 of processing, 230, 237-238safelight, 233-235, 237 spray mounting, 254 of solarization, 261saturated colors, 271 stability, 107 tinting, tools and procedures, 262Scheele, Carl Wilhelm, 11 standards, 67-75 tones, 162Schloerb, Ron, 262 static balance, 63, 74 tongs, 233-234, 238Schulze, Johann Heinrich, 11-12 Steichen, Edward, 18, 23, 184 toning, tools and procedures, 262scratches, 240-241 stereoscopic camera, 13 toning solution, 262screened print, 270-271 Stieglitz, Alfred, 18-19,21-22, 184 tools:secondary subject, 62 stop-action, 206 for advanced techniques, 165-169self-timer, camera, 44 stop bath, 228-229, 231,238 of contact prints, 234-235sepia-toned print, 161 stop watch, 220, 230 dry-mounting, 253shadow, 158 store windows (exercise), 178 high contrast print, 258-259 object and (exercise), 160 Strand, Paul, 23 history, 17shape, 97, 103-110, 117 streaks, 241 of manipulation, 256-263 and composition, 60 street photography, 197 photography, 35-40 exercise, 110 rules for, 197-198 of printing, 232-235 and light, 124 strip composition, procedure, 257-258 for processing film, 227-228 repeated, 158 strip print, 257 retouching, 263shutter, 45 structure: spray mounting, 254 and flasK7267-268 and composition, 53-56, 59-60 tinting, 262 testing, 48 and line, 87-89 toning, 262shutter speed, 113-115, 197, 198,212 style, 67,74-75 transparency film, 249 and clarity, 70-71, 73 subject: tripod, 43, 73, 212, 265-266 and motion, 131, 133, 134 and color f i l m , 246 for portraits, 183 standard, 83-84 and contrast, 134shutter-speed control, 42-43 exploring, 84 vacuum press, 253side-lit portrait (exercise), 191 interacting w i t h , 181-183, 196 value, 68-70, 232, 247 positioning, 54, 58 and black-and-white film, 247 Index 285
  • 280. and color film, 247 improving, 69-70Van Der Zee, James, 20 21variable focal-length lens, 39variables, 167vertical lines, 59viewfinder, 41-42viewing angle, 165-168visual harmony, 107, 170, 179visual interest, 160 as objective, 152visual tension, 107, 160wash, 231,238water (exercise), 164weddings, photographing, 26-27weighting, 55-56, 74Weston, Edward, 23, 152wetting agent, 229, 231White, Minor, 23, 24, 25wide-angle lens, 39, 138, 206 and distortion, 142winder. See film advance leverzone focusing, and portraits, 182zones, 53-54zone system, 168zoo (exercise), 176zoom lens, 23,39, 141-142, 162,206zoopraxiscope, 14286 The Photographic Eye
  • 281. AcknowledgmentsThe authors wish to thank Scholas- Sothebys Inc. provided photographstic, Inc., especially Eudora Groh and that appear on pages 14, 16-19, 21,Mimi Sanchez, for generous assist- 22, 25, 27, 29, 153, 169, 185, 201,ance in providing student photo- 213.graphs. We also wish to thank theindividual teachers and students at The following high schools also pro-Seoul American High School who vided student photographs (pageresponded to our request for samples numbers in parentheses): Dowlingof their work, especially Jeff Frye, H.S., West Des Moines, Iowa (56,Trevor Bredenkamp and other stu- 149, 175, 193, 203); James W. Rileydents who undertook special assign- H.S., South Bend, Indiana (195);ments for us. Exercises on pages Wagner American H.S., Phillipines218-219 and 222-223 provided by Jo- (70); Largo H.S., Florida (137); Cololecn Mahoney Roe (Bethlehem Cen- Community H.S., Iowa (164, 171,tral High School, Dehnar, New- 209); Central Visual and PerformingYork). We are grateful, too, to Arts H.S., St. Louis, Missouri (165);Tommy Clark (Lamar High School, East H.S., Waterloo, Iowa (192);Houston, Texas), William Jerdon Bethlehem Central H.S., Delmar,(Cleveland Heights High School, New York (97, 177, 180, 192, 208,Cleveland Heights, Ohio) and Shir- 219,222-223,248).ley Rosicke (John Jay High School,Hopewell Junction, New York) forcarefully reviewing the manuscriptbefore publication.Scholastic Inc. provided photographsthat appear on the following pages:4, 9, 36-38, 50, 53, 57, 60, 63, 68,71-73, 75, 76, 80, 84, 85, 88, 91, 99,109, 112-114, 118, 119, 122-124,129-131, 133, 134, 140, 145, 164-167,170-173, 177, 181, 182, 187, 189,190, 192, 195-198, 202, 209, 210,219, 220, 221-223. Acknowledgments 287
  • 283. ESSENTIAL ELEMENTSThe following is a listing of the Essential Elements for Art Education prescribed by the Texas Education Agency. 1. Awareness and sensitivity to natural and human-made environments. A. examining a variety of objects B. exploring art elements (line, value, texture, color, form and space) C. applying art principles (unity, emphasis, balance, variety, movement and proportion) 2. Inventive and imaginative expression through art materials and tools. A. designing, developing and creating original artworks B. working in art areas (ceramics, design, drawing, painting, photography, printmaking and sculpture) 3. Understanding and appreciation of self and others through art, culture and heritage. A. appreciating art (contemporary and past artworks) B. exploring art and artists through visuals and visitations 4. Aesthetic growth through visual discrimination and judgment. A. evaluating artwork (students and major artists) B. applying aesthetic judgmentsTEXAS ASSESSMENT OF ACADEMIC SKILLSDOMAIN: READING COMPREHENSION Instructional Targets, English Language Arts (Exit Level)R1 Objective 1: The student will R3 Objectives: The student will • Make generalizationsdetermine the meaning of words in a summarize a variety of written texts. • Evaluate and make judgmentsvariety of written texts. • Identify the stated main idea • Describe plot, setting and mood• Use of context clues to choose the of a selection in literary selections appropriate meaning of multiple- • Identify the implied main idea meaning words of a selection R6 Objectives: The student will• Use knowledge of the meanings of • Identify the best summary recognize points of view, propaganda prefixes and suffixes to determine of a selection and/or statements of fact and nonfact word meanings in a variety of written texts.• Use context clues (e.g., synonym, R4 Objective 4: The student will • Recognize the authors point of view antonym, definition and explanation, perceive relationships and recognize and purpose description or example) to determine outcomes in a variety of written texts. • Recognize forms of propaganda the meaning of an unfamiliar work • Perceive cause and effect relationships • Distinguish between fact and nonfact• Use context clues to determine the • Predict probable future actions and meanings of specialized/technical outcomes Note: The wording of the instructional terms targets was taken for the most part R5 Objective 5: The student will directly from the Essential Elements asR2 Objective 2: The student will analyze information in a variety of delineated in the State Board of Educationidentify supporting ideas in a variety written texts in order to make Rules for Curriculum. Each target isof written texts. inferences and generalizations. defined in behavioral terms appropriate• Recognize supporting facts and details • Interpret graphs, charts, diagrams