Make a Google Images search for ‘landscape’, ‘portrait’, or any ordinary subject such as ‘apple’ or ‘sunset’. Add a screengrab of a representative page to your learning log and note down the similarities you find between the images. Now take a number of your own photographs of the same subject, paying special attention to the ‘Creativity’ criteria at the end of Part One. You might like to make the subject appear ‘incidental’, for instance by using juxtaposition, focus or framing. Or you might begin with the observation of Ernst Haas, or the ‘camera vision’ of Bill Brandt. Add a final image to your learning log, together with a selection of preparatory shots. In your notes describe how your photograph differs from your Google Images source images of the same subject.
My daughter ran the London marathon a few days ago so, whilst watching her, I decided to use the Tower of London as my source material. A simple ‘Tower of London’ search returned the following images.
I rejected Ernst Haas for two reasons. Firstly, I didn’t feel confident in my ability to gain a fresh perspective of the Tower of London! Secondly I knew the crowds would be huge and I would therefore have limited opportunity to wander about.
Bill Brandt’s ‘camera vision’ (which he applied to photographing nudes rather than the Tower of London…) relied upon the distortion created by using a very wide angled lens. I did consider using a Lensbaby lens but figured that with so little experience of that technique the results would be unacceptable.
I guess like all of us, creativity for me is an elusive item. For that reason I’ve started using Brian Eno’s ‘Oblique Strategy’ cards (for an explanation of what these cards are see here). The card I randomly selected contained the following disrupting instruction ‘Remove ambiguities and convert to specifics’. The OCA manual offers the ‘incidental framing’ of a subject by John Davies as a possible technique to use in this exercise. To me this incidental framing is simple, specific and moderately creative and certainly removes ambiguity for me.
It differs from the Google images because the Tower of London is incidental to the photograph rather than the subject of it. The leading lines of the shot below take the eye to the couple holding hands. The eyes struggle to look at the image of the Tower.