Take a side­ways look

Trans­form or­di­nary street scenes into ab­stract forms with a sim­ple twist

NPhoto - - Special Feature -

Of­ten the beauty in ar­chi­tec­tural pho­tog­ra­phy, and in the ar­chi­tec­ture it­self, is in the an­gles, lines and shapes that make up the out­line of the build­ing. One of the best ways to draw at­ten­tion to shape is with con­trast, or, if you like, the ar­range­ment of light ob­jects against dark back­grounds, and vice-versa. Think how well the shape of a sil­hou­ette stands out against a bright back­drop, or how a white lily con­trasts with a dark pool. With ar­chi­tec­ture, the great­est con­trast in the scene is usu­ally be­tween the build­ing and the sky, as skies are in­vari­ably much brighter than build­ings. When com­pos­ing your frame, think about how you can use this con­trast to your ad­van­tage.

To the left, a wide an­gle has been used to cap­ture the jagged, an­gu­lar shapes of the streets of Ghent. But who says that just be­cause we see the world the right way up, a photo has to do the same? Henri Cartier-Bres­son, per­haps the great­est ever com­poser of a frame, had a good piece of ad­vice for those look­ing to judge the strength of a par­tic­u­lar com­po­si­tion: turn the photo up­side down. This helps you to an­a­lyse the frame in a de­tached way, by bring­ing the ar­range­ment of shapes to the fore while mut­ing the sub­ject mat­ter. If the frame has bal­ance up­side-down, it’ll work the right way up too. And if it looks es­pe­cially strik­ing while up­side down, or on its side, as in the im­age above, why not leave it that way?

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