Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Exercise - Fitting the frame to the subject

Subject: Fidelity Rad 24 radio

Having ventured out between the showers on Sunday afternoon to find a subject suitable for this exercise, I was promptly sent retreating back to the house by more rain.  As such I decided that this old radio in the kitchen which belongs to my housemates might make an acceptable subject for the exercise.  It is interesting enough to look at and has some nice detail when viewed really close.  I've been told it belonged to my housemates grandmother initially.  There's a great vintage look to it, it's in fine working order and a quick google search tells me it was made in London in the early 70's.  Fantastic.  We leave it on when there's nobody in the house, to keep the dog entertained.  Not sure what will happen when they switch off the analogue radio signal, they might have to buy a new 'vintage-look' DAB radio to keep the dog happy, unless he likes listening to static.

I will refer to the photos in clockwise order, from top-left to bottom-left (1-6) 
(1) - This is the first shot I took, as the exercise suggested, without taking too much time to think about the composition.  I had already decided to take the shots head-on and not from an angle, to show as much of the frontal detail as possible, and also because I felt this suited the surroundings better.  I actually think this image is not that bad.  There are some nice colour highlights from the teacups and the scrubbing brush to accent the plain silver and black of the radio.

(2) - Tightly cropped, the long focal length has made all the background sufficiently out of focus to show off the shape of the radio and the slight wonkyness of the two dials at the top right.

(3) - Here I've moved in close to highlight the detail of the radio.  I didn't feel like this was close enough to show off the detail effectively.

(4) - I switched to a macro lens, and got as close in as I could get, framing around the writing in the bottom-right corner.  I think this image is much more effective than the previous shot - you can clearly see the tiny dents, cracks and dirt on the metal detail.

(5) - A more wide-angle shot.  I spent a bit of time framing it right up to the edges of the cupboard doors, also trying to keep all of the right hand glass-shelf/box on the wall just in shot.  Sadly, I actually think the first shot I took quickly looks better than this.

(6) - I decided to see what a different angle would look like.  The coloured teacups slightly take over the frame and I think it has become a slightly cluttered image.

Cropped versions of pictures 1 (left and middle image) and 6 (right image)
These are some cropped versions of the images.  I used a square crop on the left-hand image. I think this focuses the attention on the radio, with the colourful teacups not dominating, and much less background clutter.  If I was to take this photo again, I would remove the pasta jar from the background as I find it distracting.  Is it possible the square format is slightly reminiscent of the era the radio is from?

The middle image makes me think of an identity parade.  The wide-angle format is quite interesting and although the other objects on display are quite prominent, I think the uniformly rectangular radio still just manages to dominate the photo.

The third image is a tighter crop of photo 6.  I like the angle of the lines of the work surface and how the pure white contrasts with the colour of the teacups.  Unfortunately they are still taking over a bit from the subject, and I was unable to find a nice crop that completely removed the blue towel.


This exercise and the subsequent attempts at cropping have been very useful.  It has taught me I need to take even more time when framing my subject, to be imaginative and try to visualize cropping bits out of the photo.  Also, as Clive Minnitt and Phil Malpas mention in 'Finding the Picture' - "Be bold.  Don't allow the fear of making mistakes stifle your creativity."  I will try to do just that.

1 comment:

  1. I have the same radio and its from 1975