Monday, December 31, 2007

The Upside Down and Backward Thing

One of the first things people notice when I show them the ground glass of an image I am taking is the image is upside down. Then they realize it is backwards too. It is a little disconcerting at first. Your brain and your SLR see the world right side up and this new way of seeing takes a while. It was one of the things I was most concerned about when I got the 4x5 too. Luckily, it was something that I got used to fairly quickly.

It does slow one down a bit. It makes you think. It makes you contemplate the scene. I have heard it say that seeing an image upside down makes you look at a composition based more on shapes and lines than as normal objects. Under the dark cloth it is you and an upside down view and that promotes you to really work that image.

That work is something you just cannot really get at 9 frames per second on an SLR. This is a whole different way to photograph. It is also more like 9 frames a morning.

I find the location and then walk around it. Maybe take a few digital snaps to check potential compositions. Then it is set up the camera and start looking at the world upside down.

Everything counts in a frame of film. Even the empty space matters. Upside down helps with that. Space, shapes, lines are all helped by the different view. I can't fully say upside down makes me compose better but it does make me think better or at the least it makes me think longer.

Here is another image from when I was photographing trees along the river. This is my view of the trees. The dark day really made the image stand out on the ground glass. Normally it is too bright to see the image without a dark cloth, but today it was dark and dreary- the image stood out plainly. I thought it was the perfect day and a perfect way to show it.

Use a view camera and the world is upside down.

No comments: