Weekly photo challenge – From every angle

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The new is new because it is different.  The familiar becomes strangely out of sync with expectations.  These are the impacts of changing one’s vantage point.

In this week’s Daily Press photo challenge, we are encouraged to photograph an object from a variety of angles.  The aim is to find the original in something usually considered ordinary.

For me, the challenge started this morning in a car park. The morning sun glinted in the bars of the grocery trolley.  Out came the camera phone.

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Three different angles of a very ordinary object, and I can see how changing one’s point of view can add some inspiration to an image.

I’ve tried different vantage points before, with different aims and different effects.

First, there was the intentional application of a photographic movement called New Objectivity.  It was born in the 1920s with the aim of documenting objects in a realistic style.  There are rules.  First, the sky must be overcast to eliminate strong shadows. Second, the camera must be at the very centre of the image, horizontally and vertically, to avoid distorting perspective. Then, as you move around the object, take a photo every 45 degrees.

I tried this on some trees in a local car park.  I wanted to capture the essence of the battered cage and its relationship to the tree and thought this style would achieve that.

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New Objectivity involved different vantage points, but not different angles.

Whereas, freehand is a very different style in which the camera’s point of view is not mine.  Who says we have to look through the view finder!  Of course, as a result, the result is often unsuccessful.  Yet, when it works, when I actually breath deeply and feel the energy of the arm movements and their relationship with the object, I find the results compelling.

This yellow and orange series is a piece of equipment in a children’s playground.  I have varied the angle of the camera in relation to the object but have not adopted a “formal” point of view.

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Varying our point of view and angle in relation to the photo’s intended subject goes further than just overcoming the ordinariness of life.  It contains elements of both politics and escapism.

For example, an item placed within a scene becomes a narrative element because of our desire for story and connection.  Changing the angle will change the object’s relationship to its surroundings, which in turn will change its impact on the narrative.  Film makers have been training us to think this way for years.  We escape the ordinariness of life, drawn into an image that envelops us in a new and visually-pleasing story.

Alternatively, changing the angle can be political act in which we seek to subvert the status quo.  A photographic movement called New Vision, also beginning in the 1920s, experimented with new forms and unusual points of view.  One proponent of the style was a Soviet photographer, Alexander Rodchenko, who wrote in 1928 “Given its possibilities, photography should concern itself with showing the world different points of view, it should teach how to look from every side.”

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For me, in this day and age, actively looking for different angles is a great way of breaking down the neurological fixedness that hampers creativity and dulls the ability to solve problems.  The benefits are not just a handful of interesting photographs.  The changes that occur in the brain are then available for tackling other challenges.

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References

Mora, G. 1998.  Photo Speak: A guide to the ideas, movements, and techniques of photography, 1839 to the present.

3 thoughts on “Weekly photo challenge – From every angle

  1. Lovely set of photos. I particularly liked how you looked at the shopping trolley. Such an ordinary object yet it looks different from different angles…funny how worn its corners are. It looks like a Coles trolley… 😀

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