Thursday, November 10, 2016

The NOTHING Photograph

It’s not an aesthetic judgment. I like these ‘nothing’ photographs. It’s a [somewhat tongue-in-cheek] term of art, nothing. Here’s and example:


What’s the focal point, what’s the subject? That’s right, nothing. Obviously there’s something in the picture, weeds, bushes, trees, the sky. And light, of course, look at the translucent leaves of grass there at the left. Notice the shadows cast by invisible trees behind and to the right.

But there’s no main object or set of objects. Just a bunch of stuff from left to right, top to bottom. Textures. And space.

Here’s another example:


We’ve got the same compositional features as the previous image, but a different scale, and the sky is all but gone. We’re now closer to things: notice the branch at the upper left, the leaves at the right. And, yes, there’s a branch in the center, but it’s hardly the subject. But I am careful about composition. Nothing must be well composed.

A somewhat different example:


There’s a clear division between foreground (weeds, bushes, small trees) and background (blue sky with clouds). Composition two, the apex of a virtual triangle is at the top, just left of center, with a large out-of-focus tassel below the top edge and just right of center. I was probably kneeling down and shooting up.



You do the commentary.

[I just noticed, however, that the sun is directly behind the cloud in the middle. If you look closely you’ll see a small disk in the middle of that cloud, just above a tree branch and just above the center of the photo. If you look really closely you’ll see that it’s obscuring a twig. You might want to click over to Flickr so you can enlarge the image.]

Now for something different:


We’re working at still a different scale. The field of view is maybe 18 inches wide at the focal plane. There’s a tassel in the center, fronted by crisscrossing leaves of grass – some in- some out-of-focus. And the background’s all blurred, giving us a distinct division between foreground and background. Notice the play of light, very important. Photography is light.

But no real subject.

A last one:


Very different, almost solid red. Red articulated by leaves, and depth of focus? Notice the lone branch to the right.


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