Negative space in life and a portrait

Negative Space Adventure

Negative Space Adventure

Here is my pretty china doll Julia Rose…

I think the world’s technology if overloading us with stimuli.  Our brains are truly wired differently now because of it. Unfortunately this is robbing us of our ability to be introspective.  Introspective people often look into what appears to be nothingness, and find the rich textures and beauty God has hidden in there for their enjoyment and enlightenment that others ignore.  While making these portraits with my daughter I was able to slow down just enough to explore what I was doing…the why…the how…the wonder of the moment before me.  Writing this article, and thinking about what I wanted to do actually made me go back and re-edit my photograph to make it more attractive..actually to make the nothingness more attractive and complementary of the subject!  I had set the stage, but only by self examination was I truly able to explore it.

Here is the story of the shot:  When I shot this portrait I wanted to explore the concept of negative space a bit.  I just finished reading about in in Bryan Peterson’s book so I thought it would be good to practice.  This is one of those times where you purposely let a big set of space be empty…but in this case I filled it up with a rich texture.  Before last month I would be scared to do something with the space, wondering if I was “allowed” to by the photogurus of the world.  Bob Coates helped me walk away from that supposed stigma last month at a class I took with him.  “If the masters of art did it, why can we learn from them?” he said…and then he encouraged us all to play a little but with the concept.  Only through play can you learn, experience and find the your style in the wonderful world of photo development we have at our fingertips today.  It is a great lesson we should all grasp on in so many ways (Bob Coates website bcphotography.com)  I used Julia’s eyes and body curve to compliment the negative space…she is looking at the negative space as if something is there you cannot see!  By moving Julia in the lighting space I also purposely created shadows to give the subject a three dimensional depth to match the texture.  If I had more space in the old basement I’d pull her further from the backdrop..but I am out of that vital commodity in the basement right now…to create more depth and contrast in the textures.  Next step is to do more with the lighting outside of post to make this easier.

So put down that smart phone, ipad or gameboy.  Look into the nothingness, and see what you’ve been missing.  Remove the man made stimuli, and look, listen and feel for the rich textures of life God prepared for us.  I think our lives will be much greater for it…I know this portrait of my daughter certainly was.

-ehw

P.S.  The Fujifilm X-E1 F5, 1/110, ISO1600, at 234mm(35mm equivalent) tripod mounted!

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