The Art of See­ing

Ben Brain ex­pects the un­ex­pected

Digital Camera World - - CONTENTS -

Tak­ing out-of-fo­cus, blurred shots of red dots is not ac­tu­ally as easy as it sounds. This project came about af­ter I was sim­ply ex­per­i­ment­ing with a light­box and a few sheets of coloured gels. I was cut­ting the gels, then pho­tograph­ing them de­lib­er­ately out of fo­cus with a macro lens to cre­ate ab­stract images.

Grad­u­ally I starting mak­ing the shapes more for­mal, and ended up with very spe­cific cir­cles and squares. I was re­ally en­joy­ing the ef­fect the wildly blurred colours pro­duced – es­pe­cially in the area of tran­si­tion from one colour to an­other, as you can see in the yel­low halo in the im­age here.

Dur­ing this pe­riod of ex­per­i­men­ta­tion (or, rather, mess­ing around), I was in­vited to take part in a lo­cal ex­hi­bi­tion. Ti­tled utopia:dystopia in the world, it was in­spired by the 500-year an­niver­sary of Sir Thomas More’s book

Utopia. The lit­eral trans­la­tion of utopia is ‘no place’, and in a odd ab­stract way I felt the coloured cir­cles I was mak­ing worked well with the theme. So I set about mak­ing sev­eral pho­to­graphs of dif­fer­ent-coloured cir­cles.

Some of the colour com­bi­na­tions were su­per-in­tense and played tricks on the eyes. This shot was my favourite com­bi­na­tion. For max­i­mum im­pact I printed the images one me­tre square, and they re­ally packed a punch on the gallery wall. Most peo­ple thought they were paint­ings, but I en­joyed the fact that they were ac­tu­ally pretty ‘straight’ images, more or less as they came out the cam­era.

The sub­tle gra­da­tion of tone and colour was hard to get just right and I had to work hard in Pho­to­shop, us­ing 16-bit files with a wide colour range to make sure there was no band­ing.

Cam­era: Nikon D810Lens: 60mm f/2.8 macro Ex­po­sure: 1/100 sec at f/4, ISO 100

Bene­dict Brain www.bene­dict­brain.com

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