You don’t need to show everything to get the point across; sometimes only hinting at a subject says more than enough
Athird visual strategy is to show only the bare minimum of something – just enough so that the viewer can work it out. In fact, not only don’t you need to show the entirety of a subject, but showing just a bit makes it more interesting for your audience. I’ll be looking more into this idea of not showing everything and giving the viewer something to do later in the year, but in the context of reducing it’s a tried-and-tested technique. One obvious way to do it is to make a frame break — deliberately cutting off some or even most of a subject with the edge of the frame. Received wisdom of the traditional kind says that this is what you do not do, especially cutting into a face, but if the point of photography is to be interesting, this kind of advice is meaningless.
And, as with the previous two photographs of the desert and the tea plantation, lean and pared-down imagery appeals to contemporary taste in two ways: one is the increasingly short attention span of most people looking at imagery; and the other is that modern lifestyle ideas lean heavily on having space to move around in – personal space if you like – and minimalist photographs allow viewers to fill them with their own ideas.
The idea here was to make a comparison and contrast between two famous space helmets; one real, one fictional. There was no possibility of bringing them together physically, as the Apollo helmet was at NASA in Houston, while the original Darth Vader helmet is in a secret warehouse in
Not only don’t you need to show the entirety of a subject, but showing just a bit makes it more interesting
San Rafael, California (the warehouse of the special effects company ILM, set up originally by George Lucas to make
Star Wars, where all the props from this and Indiana Jones, and a few other movies, are kept in secret because otherwise it would be besieged by fans). Both were shot against a plain background to make compositing easier. One idea was to join them, but the proportions of each work against this – the different heights of the visors are distracting. Simply side-by-side is ordinary and also too wide an image. The final image, in which each is carefully broken in half, exactly down the middle, still shows all that’s needed while being slightly unexpected.
Two space helmets, one in Houston, one in San Rafael. Two different locations, same kind of subject
From left to right, different ideas for putting the two helmets together visually