SP@Flickr: Beauty and the Filth! (Rachit Vats, aka: fishinbowl)
Perspective is everything, and Rachit Vats (aka: fishinbowl) clearly demonstrates that here. When I see a photo like this, I ask myself two questions. First, I ask myself: “What drove the photographer to shoot in this manner – in this case, what possessed Rachit to turn his camera 120 degrees to get this shot? Second, I ask myself: Why didn’t I think of that? The second question is only important to gain perspective. If you’re asking yourself that very question, you’re demonstrating clear admiration for a specific work.
But back to the photo. This photo is has a simple subject, a war memorial that, according to the description, is neglected and not widely appreciated. In its day, the memorial was probably photographed a dozen different ways…and I’d bet that nearly every single one showed the shot right-side-up. It takes Rachit to twist the camera to make it a great subject. But the reflection in the puddle adds another perspective. The title is a clue, but the description describes it further: the puddle is filthy. It is implied that Rachit’s perpective is that the park is generally dirty if you know where to look. That’s my interpretation and not necessarily the opinion of the artist. But it’s a valid point. The point is further driven home, once again, by the positioning of the camera at shutter.
By twisting the camera, the subject doesn’t change, but the intent – or the story – does. A simple twist of the camera changes the focus. We’re naturally drawn to the upper portion of any photo, and that’s why the rule of thirds is in place. In portraits, we strive to show the eyes within the top third, and the viewer is naturally attracted to such photos. It’s just how we’re wired, and someone long ago figured it out and passed on the knowledge. But twisting the camera puts the subject itself, the monument, in the lower third while the reflection itself resides in the upper third. So now the focus changes and the subject is no longer the monument, but the puddle. Or, more specifically, what lies within the puddle. At first glance, it’s the monument as it is reflected. But the title gives us a clue, and we can deduct that the actual subject is the filth – the pollutants within the puddle – and not the monument. It’s a bait and switch. The photo is of course appealing, but if you start to look deep into the shot, you’ll find the underlying intent.
So as you can see, a simple change in perspective can change the focus and quality of a photograph.
View the Photo at Flickr: Beauty and the Filth!
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