Tuesday, June 25, 2013

A Cart Before No Horse

Title: A Cart Before No Horse

What do you think when you see this image? Do you simply see an old carriage in disrepair? Is there a story that comes to mind when you look at it? Do you see the era, the people who may have used it, or the setting that it might have been used in when it was new?

Images captured by anyone who seeks to hold a moment for all time, should attempt to see the story before they ever put the camera up to their eye. Even those who take photographs for that family vacation should take a moment and gather the story they are trying to tell before snapping that image for posterity. We all have the time to exercise the skill of story telling with the photos we make.

Practicing this is easy and after a while it becomes second nature. It will improve the images you make whether they be for fun or profession and it is something so easy to do. The key is to relax a little before you pull the shutter button. Take in everything surrounding your subject.

For instance, in the image above I had to walk around the block to capture the small wooded area around the cart before I was satisfied with the background. There were still modern elements that I was unable to avoid, such as the chain link fence just behind the carriage. I sought to disguise it with the woods in the background.

The story I wanted to tell was that of a bygone age where the horse and buggy were the primary mode of transportation. I wanted the image to reflect that era where photographs took minutes to make using a large format camera, and aged and yellowed over time. I changed the setting in my camera to a sepia tone to lend to this end. My thought before I shot was to tell the story of this carriage by eliciting a historical response from the viewer.

Anyone can do what I attempted to do in capturing this photograph. It only took a very few minutes to survey the surroundings and then an itty bitty walk to create the setting I desired. The result was greater character and meaning for the subject.

Do you want your photographs to have a deeper, grander meaning? Then take a moment to put your subjects in the right setting. You move to seek the best background or surrounding, or have your subject move. Even personal photographs can be manipulated to have more character and meaning based on what surrounds your family or friends if one relaxes and takes a moment to look around them.