As a photographer, you are given a set of tools. Contrary to the belief of outsiders, the photography toolkit is quite small. We’re equipped with just six tools: The building blocks of composition. From these, we build recipes – photo setups and styles that we can add to our repertoire for later use. One tried and true recipe is the silhouette photograph – back-lighting a subject (often with the sun), very often with a person or a couple as the subject. But we can build upon and tweak these recipes to fit our needs. Jane Kaltenberg tweaks such a recipe with her photo, Day is Done.
The tweek is simply a play on the subject…or subjects, as it were. The typical well defined subject has been replaced with a quagmire of brambles, a wire fence and a few birds. The simple, clean, hard edges have become complicated, distorted and harder to define. The result is a fun collaboration between a texture and color. It’s still a sunset. It’s still a silhouette shot. But the emotion has changed. We’re not dealing with the romance of a stolen kiss on a beach at sunset. This isn’t a silhouette of a beautiful, majestic tree. Kaltenberg’s creation is, on the other hand, haunting and foreshadowing. I find myself wondering what the evening will bring. What are these birds waiting for?
The takeaway is that we can tweak such tiny aspects of our recipes and completely change the mood of our photos. But we cannot stop experimenting. Your repertoire should and will continue to expand as you grow as a photographer. Don’t be afraid…the results could be quite pleasing, just like Kaltenberg’s Day is Done.
Side note: Kudos goes to Kaltenberg for heeding and acting upon constructive criticism. When I first found her photo in our group, it was without a title. I suggested that she title her works, and she has since titled a few of her more artistic works.