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Making ‘Recession’

Most people just ‘look’ at things.

One of the skills a good photographer is the ability to ‘see’.

It’s not difficult to develop this skill. It’s a question of training your eyes to take in colour, shape, form, patterns, light – such things can be found everywhere, even in the most mundane places. Look around you right now and notice the play of light and shadow, the subtleties of colour, the textures, the shape of the spaces inbetween things. That’s what ‘seeing’ is all about.

I spotted this line of unsold cars outside a garage near my home. From most angles they looked just like a line of cars. But when I got down low and looked along them …

So the next morning I was back with my camera, and tripod and 300mm lens. I use the telephoto to ‘home in’ on the graphic pattern and to cut out all the other extraneous junk. This was in a light industrial area and all around were wires and poles and hoardings and all the other junk you get in light industrial areas.

Unlike painting, which is ‘building up’ an image on a blank sheet of paper, photography is often a process of ‘taking away’. If there is an unfortunate electricity pylon in a scene, the painter can simply leave it out. It’s not so easy for the photographer. Your lens will record everything in a scene if you are not careful, and you need to work out ways of getting rid of all this extraneous stuff (and I don’t mean with Photoshop). On way to do this is to by choosing a viewpoint carefully. Another way is by homing in on the subject.

In addition, for this photograph I used a small aperture to give a wide depth of field, and focused on the car in the middle (in other words, the one at the ‘hyperfocal distance).

And the title? Well, the cars recede into the distance, don’t they. But the garage was also having difficulty selling them because of …?

Technical details: Nikon 28-300mm lens at 200mm, ISO 200, 1/100 second at f11


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