Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Emphasize An Important Element In A Photograph

On the left is a screen grab of the Rembrandt painting, "The Man With the Golden Helmet." On the right is a portrait of my dad.

My friend, Steve Inglima, pointed out a similarity (of sorts): Yes, the faces are important, but other elements – the helmet and the hands – are strong and obviously important elements in the painting/photograph.

Rembrandt wanted the viewer to notice the exquisite detail in the helmet - truly a work of art.

I want viewers of my photography to notice my dad's hands - which were at one time very strong and powerful - weak and frail at the time I took the picture. I remember many times when he leaned over my shoulder to help me with my homework – at the desk at which I am sitting in the picture below. (Yes, that's me! My dad took the picture with a 4x5-inch Linhof camera.)

When composing a portrait, consider elements in the scene – other than the face – that can help you to tell a story. You might be surprised at how many different stories you can tell in a single sitting.

Explore the light,
Rick

P.S. If you like photo philosophies like this, as well as tech info on photographing people, check out my book, Face to Face.

2 comments:

Glyn Dewis said...

al nice post Rick and a wonderful photograph of your Dad.

By the very nature of the lighting, composition and expression on his face, despite never having met him, I can just see his kindness; now that ie capturing someones personality in a single photograph is a true skill.

Thank you for sharing,
Best wishes to you,
Glyn

Carolyn Fox said...

This is a good example of how a photographer can use light and composition to direct the viewers attention to certain details in an image. It's also another example of what a wonderful influence your dad was in your life, not only as a photographer, but also as a man of strength and character. Thanks for sharing.