[email protected]: “Mosaïque” by Jean-Baptiste (Jbeuh)

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"Mosaïque" by Jean-Baptiste (Jbeuh)

Jean-Baptiste – known as Jbeuh on Flickr – is a French Professor with an eye for photography and a knack for the unseen.  The photograph shown here, Mosaïque, is probably one of my favorites of his collection – and among the most inspirational shots in the [email protected] Pool.  Quite simply, it is a photograph of a mosaic of mirror-like glass placed on a curving surface.  We of course can’t tell exactly what we’re looking at, and the reflection is even less discernable.  Of course Jean-Baptiste’s description gives us some clues:  Though I don’t speak French, I suspect that the subject is one of the decorated Lion sculptures located in Lyon, France – a series of art installations not unlike similar installations in other cities around the world.  Further exploration through his photostream gives us another clue, the sister image titled Unprocessed yields more detail of the reflection.  While the sister photo certainly has an aire all its own, I am still drawn to Mosaïque as the more appealing and more superior of the two – at least in my opinion.

The image was incredibly appealing to me from the first time I laid eyes on it.  When I am awestruck by any piece of art, I am always hesitant to learn more about it in fear that I’ll discover something that will change my view of the art.  But my curiosity always gets the best of me, and I inevitably find myself poring over whatever resources and research I am able to uncover.  I found myself researching this shot like many others, as I already mentioned above.  Sometimes, my research turns up my worst fears and I lose respect or interest in the photograph.  This was one case where my research increased my love for the shot.

There are three reasons why I love the shot:

  1. It’s abstract nature – nothing is truly discernible, and – had Jean-Baptiste not provided a link – I would never be able to figure out the subject (even still, I’m not 100% sure I got it right).  Obscurity is, in its own right, beautiful.  The subject doesn’t really matter in this case.
  2. Colors – the photograph exhibits both the warm and cool ends of the spectrum.  To speak of composition for this shot, you would need to focus on the colors.  It is the colors that form the true composition here.  Again, the subject does not truly matter – what matters is what the shot is balanced and that the transition from warm to cool is not distracting.
  3. Perspective – I am always drawn to unique perspectives.  In this case, Jean-Baptiste chose the Lion sculpture as the subject (again, that is not a confirmed fact).  While many would want to shoot wide enough so you could clearly identify the subject, he framed the shot so that nothing is identifiable.  By shooting with a unique perspective, your focus shifts away from the subject itself, and you’re mind is forced to shift focus to the basic building blocks:  Pattern, Form, Shape, Line, Color and Texture.  This shot contains all six building blocks.

The key takeaway of this shot is that being able to identify any specific subject within the image is irrelevant.  So long as you can create a balanced composition using a handful of the basic building blocks, you have a chance at creating a pronominal photograph.

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About Author

D. Travis North is a professional Landscape Architect, a Freelance Photographer and founder of Shutter Photo. Ever since he picked up his first SLR, his father's Nikon N2000, he's been hooked on photography. Travis likes to photograph urban environments, architectural details and has a new-found interest in close-up photography. His work can be found at D. Travis North Photography. Follow Travis on twitter: @dtnorth.

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