Recently I read an e-book from Craft And Vision called Close To Home ~ Finding great photographs in your own backyard; by Stuart Sipahigil. It’s all about learning to see things differently and create new images from the old familiar surroundings that you see every day. Ok; so his “backyard” is a beautiful state park but he also includes in the book many images taken in his actual backyard and even one shot from (if memory serves) his kitchen window.
One of my favorite quotes included in the book is by Elliot Erwitt who said; “To me, photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place… I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.”
I must remember that.
Boy do I need help when it comes to shooting the familiar old drab scene in my “backyard”. This little farming community doesn’t hold a lot of interesting sites so, If I’m going to take a walk with the camera, I’ve got to crank up the creativity a little more.
Today I tried out an exercise from Mr. Sipahigil’s book called “frame cutout”. Well; at least I started out to try this but my trusty assistant had other ideas for my frame.
The exercise is to take a piece of cardboard, I used the back of a notebook, and cut out a 4″ x 6″ opening in the center of it. You take the cardboard out and when you see something that looks interesting you look at it through the cutout. Hold it closer and farther away from your face and it acts like a zoom lens and allows you to take a closer look at what is contained within that frame instead of seeing the wide view.
I started on the patio right next to the sliding door and took a closer look at a decorative pot. Ok, maybe that little mini gnome and his house could make something interesting…
[So my little gnome man has a pink and yellow house; who am I to judge.]
I then ventured out into the backyard…
…yeah; that still looks like a grain bin
…and those still look like the same old train cars I’ve seen so many times before.
Maybe I’m over thinking this exercise.
Hey! Lets take a closer look at my photography assistant; Bella Dog.
Isn’t she cute; here she is trying for just a second not to notice that my frame slipped out of my hand.
She couldn’t resist for long and she found her own use for it.
I think I need to try this again; but without my assistant’s help.
Now where did I put that other piece of cardboard
…no Bella you are not going this time.
I hope you are all taking a new look at your old familiar surroundings and creating beautiful images of your part of the world!