Take a moment and think about how you reflexively hold your camera: Grip in the right hand with the shutter button below your index finger, left hand is most likely supporting the lens. And your camera is most likely horizontal or vertical. You learned all this at some point and so it has become second nature. That’s all well and good; I’m certainly not going to try to teach you to break that habit (it’s a good one). However, sometimes habits such as how you hold your camera can get in the way of your creative thinking. Perhaps we should think more like Sam Neequaye, who created Tunnel at Greenwich, London. It’s a twist on the traditional vanishing point tunnel photo (no pun intended).
Tunnel at Greenwich, London, is well composed, well processed and presented very well. Depth of field is just deep enough that you can understand what you’re looking into, but not so deep as to strip the mystery out of the depths of that tunnel. Sam is using available light, of which there isn’t much. Even at f/4.0, which is the widest aperture his Nikkor 10-20mm will permit, his shutter speed had to be pulled all the way down to 1/25. Yet the photo is still tack sharp. I don’t know exactly how Sam managed camera shake. It’s possible he had a special clamp or a special rig that allowed him to change the orientation. Or maybe he’s just hold the camera tight against a wall or some other. In my mind, the most likely scenario is that the camera is mounted on a basic tripod, oriented level with the floor and it’s the resulting image that has been rotated and cropped. Supposing that is the case, Sam has actually reoriented our minds.
As we look upon a photo like Sam’s, we can’t always assume that things are what they seem. With Tunnel… it’s easy to believe the orientation of the camera as it’s presented. In the end, it doesn’t really matter exactly how the shot was created because the end result is ultimately what the photographer wants us to see. As the viewer, it doesn’t matter if it’s been cropped, reoriented, color edited or so on. All that matters is that we “get it” and understand how the photographer wants us to see the finished product. Sam may not have used any special tricks to get this shot. But our perspective has changed all the same. And that’s what makes this such a strong photograph.
Unique perspectives are one of Sam Neequaye’s strongest talents. His photostream contains a great number of interesting perspectives, some of which feature landmarks we all will recognize. He’s got a creative approach to photography, and his portfolio contains much to be inspired by.