… and think of different ways to present your work:
Decay has always been a genre that I have found interesting. Old machinery, derelict buildings, and abandoned houses particularly, as they have fed my imagination telling a story of their former life.
Whilst recently looking at a body of work on this genre by another photographer, I recognised the time and consideration that went into producing the images. Shooting a series of images from one location is not easy – a theme, or series of themes is needed to connect the work. Shape, form, colour or even composition can be used. The best approach is to have a plan of action that can be used to focus your work in advance and have a plan ‘B’ … just in case. This photographer had carefully executed a plan presenting a series of images cleverly connected to tell a particular story.
Always looking for something different, the first set of images that caught my eye were presented as a series of Triptychs – panels with three connected images. I have never really used this method seriously to present a body of work and and at first thought it would fairly easy given sufficient thought and planning. Wait a minute, I am not talking about splitting a landscape image into three parts, but shooting three different vertical images that will be combined into three vertical parts. That means you need to shoot in portrait mode with your mind’s eye focussed in capturing a narrower version composition – a narrow cropped portrait shot (although there are no specific rules, so even square format is possible). This is where the planning comes in – to actively search for this type of unusual composition in the field. Often a form of symmetry is used as well, perhaps to balance the outer images with a single middle image, so thought must go to all three images at the shooting stage, preferably with additional images just in case the images do not balance or match properly. The task is not straightforward if you want to execute it properly and unless you are able to return at a later date, you only get one chance. Not so easy – a difficult challenge!
The second set of images were presented as a slideshow set to music with about 30 to 40 images, all taken at the one location. As the slideshow progressed the connecting theme changed using colour and shape with textures such as flaking paint, rust, wood grain or metal panels. What also added another dimension to the presentation was that all the images were shot in square format – making the work stand out as being a planned body of work and something different. There is no way you can randomly shoot a series of images like that without using a checklist as you go and putting in a great deal of thought.
My message to take away is to think about the way you present your work, to make it stand out by being different and thus appreciated by the viewer. Why not take the challenge and present your work in a different way – I am now up for finding and creating Triptychs!