I first discovered the work of Kika Clore-Gronenborn (kikacgx) as I was browsing new photographs at Flickr. The photograph shown here, titled Sepia, was my gateway into Kika’s world – and I am happy to have found it. Immediately, I requested that the photo be shared with the [email protected] Pool. She happily obliged, and now I am able to share it with the rest of you.
This photograph exhibits two of my favorite photographic concepts: Monochromatic colors and decaying man-made structures. The two concepts combined is also one of my favorites, so naturally I’m drawn to the shot. Once my initial excitement about the photo subsided, I realized that there are quite a few aspects to this photo, which is why I’m featuring it here today.
The lighting in this shot is perhaps a little unorthodox. The primary light source appears to be coming through the windows as backlight. The top left corner is actually blown out because of the amount of light reaching the lens. In a color shot, the blown-out area may look absolutely awful. But in a sepia shot like this, it really makes the shot. It serves to emphasize the grain and add contrast to the shot. But back to the lighting. Typically, backlighting might be used for silhouette photography or to create hilights on the subject. With this shot, the subject is the entire room – not just one specific object. And since it is a monochromatic photo, the reflected light serves to add interest and contrast by adding soft shadows.
As I mentioned, the subject here isn’t limited to one specific object – it is, in fact, the entire room. Therefore, everything you see within the shot – the chair, the pool table, the couch, the windows and so on – is both a component of the overall subject as well as the context. Compositionally, this makes for a challenge. This is yet anothe reason why this photo wouldn’t work as a color photograph. In color, the different hues of each object would detract from the overall balance. As a monochromatic photo, the composition is composed through the balance of light, shapes and form. Distractions are removed, and our eye is naturally drawn around the photo.
Once again, I like to bring it back to my favorite subject here at Shutter Photo: Inspiration. The elments I described above of course contribute to this great photograph. But what’s the real reason I brought this to the pedestal for you all to see? The uniqueness of the subject is the reason. This is yet again proof that you can make anything beautiful with your camera, and you can really shoot anything. Most of all, I want you to realize that sometimes the subject isn’t necessarily clear – sometimes the subject is just the light. Squint your eyes, make the objects blurry, and enjoy the composition of the light. Enjoy.
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