Conceptual photography

Posted on by Garrett Reid

Happy April everyone! In my opinion, April is the best month of the year because not only was I was born in April, I also and got married April...a few years after I was born. So, I think it's pretty cool. I thought I'd take a step back and talk about some things that I've been working on.

Lately I've been trying to draw the viewer's eye to the subject of a photograph through the use of light rather than simply using depth of field. To a certain extent, I do this instinctively, but really trying to work on it and perfect it has been a great exercise. It's so easy to simply dial to aperture to 2.8 or lower and let everything get all smudged in the background so that there's nothing with detail left other than my chosen subject. Granted, most of these shots were taken at f4 and below due to the lack of light in the scene, so I am breaking my own rule a little. But I hope that it is still evident that my main focus is the quality of light and using it to draw the eye. Where my focus point has been placed isn't as relevant. For example, there's a shot of one of our cats taken through a glass bottle while she was at the top of her cat tree. Nothing is in focus, but it's still apparent that the cat (once located) is the subject due to the light and the detail and contrast that it brings. 

I've also been working on some conceptual photography. Basically I've been looking for higher levels of human presence within inanimate objects. It's a more subtle concept. It's like this: if you walked into a room without anyone in it, what is the object that best portrays the character of the people who live there or that gives away that fact that people frequent that space? Sometimes it is very obvious like these pictures of glasses in this wood-working shop. They tell a more colorful story about the man that works in that shop then say this picture of rope hanging from the ceiling, though the presence of the knot give in it lends slightly more significance.

It’s forcing me to shoot both wider and deeper into the scene. Context is everything.

I know it's not the most thrilling or complicated concept I could have chosen, but when I combined the first project--dealing with light--and the conceptual theme, I found something that I enjoy and that yelds subtle images. It's forcing me to shoot both wider and deeper into the scene. Context is everything.