Framed

Another thing I like to do when photographing events like writers festivals is to include the audience in the picture while maintaining the viewers concentration on the principle author on the stage, which in this case is Samanta Schweblin, who is both centered within the frame and in the brightest part of the picture­.

Naturally I have headshots of her and the other authors, such shots are mandatory and everybody does them because they’re expected by the organisers for the web etc.

However, although these oddly framed shots are rarely used on festival internet pages, they do often appear much­ later in printed matter or online articles and the reason for this is something I find very interesting. Although such pictures appear to have been shot by an amateur they are in fact a part of the professionals toolbox. The deliberate “amateurish” framing of the shot makes the picture appear more spontaneous or truthful than its tightly framed brethren, a “this is how it really was on the day”-type of photo that adds visual engagement and points of reference to an article or review.

However, you do sometimes get some odd looks from people who wonder if you know what you are doing.

50mm, f4, 1/80sec, ISO12,800 (in these situations I always have the ISO set to auto)

Reflections

Angles, broken lines and distorted colors are oddly enough, things of the real world, although most of the time we don’t notice them, but the camera does.

I was attracted to this scene by the graphic nature of the interior and the woman reading. But I knew in advance that going inside to ask a security official if I could photograph the scene was going to have a negative outcome, so I decided on the simpler option and just shot through the window. Doing this meant I could use the brown colour of the glass as well as the reflections to make an unusual and complex picture.

And this is my point: the simplest option can often the best option. To put in the complex contours and lines that the reflections create and work out the colour shifts with software would be a massive task, and a task with a small chance of success. Where as here, only the contrast needed to be gently lifted in post processing, other than that, the picture is straight from the camera.

Also, no one seems to care if you shoot through windows, regardless if I’m outside shooting in or inside shooting out.

The most common reaction to me shooting through windows is that people ignore me and write me off as just another loony with a camera, which suits me fine.

85mm, f5.6, 1/60sec, ISO100