Eyeopening, part 1

I like to think that I’m a thoughtful person. That I think before I act, consider my options, make deliberate choices. And yet I’ve found, time and again when reviewing my written work, that it is very difficult to be completely aware of your own work when you’re in the process of doing it. Seeing my own writing in the light of a day or two since I first wrote it, always throws up not only typos but a sense of the pattern of the writing: this word doesn’t fit here, this sentence should be shortened, and this point can be made clearer just so.

I’m slowly starting to get a sense of the fact that the same thing holds for photography. I’ve been reviewing my twenty favourite images from the last few months, and certain patterns are emerging in what and how I shoot. This post deals with the more technical aspects – subject, light, exposure, elements of design. Then I hope later to get around to writing a post about the more emotional aspects I’m discovering in my photography – storytelling and so on.

What stands out as most obvious is the inclusion of visible light.  I’ve mentioned before that this is something I’ve been working deliberately to include for a while now, so no surprises there.

When it comes to the subject of my images, I shoot still lifes and details of things for the most part. I have two images of leaves from outside, and everyday items and food from inside. At some point I’ll probably want to expand my repertoire, but at this point, this type of subject is what I enjoy and begin to be comfortable with.

I’ve two images where I’ve experimented with exposure, one that is deliberately too light, and one that is too dark. This is very much something I want to work more with, perhaps especially over-exposure in combination with tangible light.

As for the elements of design, the main elements in my images are shapes and forms. This is not surprising at all, since it follows from shooting still lifes. I also seem to enjoy working with lines. Interestingly, texture and pattern are almost entirely absent from the images I’ve been reviewing – in other words, I really should go out and study these two elements deliberately.

And then – last but not least – there is colour. And there is a lot of it – red, blue and orange especially. I also have a few sepia and black and white images; I enjoy experimenting with monochrome tones when the image seems right for it.

The below image is one of the best examples I have for this post, since it shows much of what I’ve noticed: There’s a strong blue colour. The composition is based on horizontal lines, and the sun is clearly visible.
{94/365} Pic. Winter Day 2: Looking out

And the lesson from all this? Be aware of what and how you shoot. I’m becoming more and more so myself, and enjoying myself so very much in the process.

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About Jenny Graver

Living in Oslo, Norway, with her partner and their infant son, Jenny struggles for balance between all the things that makes life worth living - her family, her job in university administration, her writing, learning and her photography. View all posts by Jenny Graver

5 responses to “Eyeopening, part 1

  • Kat

    Lovely post! I loved seeing all of your examples, great idea to link to Flickr. You really were able to pull a lot out of your first review. Isn’t it interesting to see your favorites all together and to see the trends? I can’t wait to see what you find next!

  • Gina

    A very thoughtful and interesting post. You’ve done a lot of reflection and are “finding your eye”. I’m not as far along as you — I had a hard time picking up favorites and they are all over the place. Thanks for sharing….it was very helpful for me. That’s a fabulous sun photo.

  • Marji

    Super post! Very insightful. I loved linking to your Flickr photos and other posts. Well done.

  • Wanda

    I like the comparison you make between self-editing of your writing and doing the same with your photos. I’m a big fan of letting my writing sit for a few hours, overnight–whatever, and then reading it again with a fresh eye. I almost always end up making changes and corrections to better convey my thoughts. I haven’t done that with photos, but I can certainly see the value. Thanks for the insight.

  • Composition « As Far As I Can Tell

    […] I’ve mentioned before that my subjects tend to be still lifes and details. I notice now that I rarely fill the frame with these objects. Rather, I tend to place them somewhere along the lines defined by the rule of thirds. This leaves a lot of space around my subject, which is filled by bokeh or other background parts of the scene. Clearly, this is a compositional approach that works for me at the moment. […]

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