Friday, March 23, 2007

When breaking all the rules works

We recently bought a couple of photographic prints by Cambridge professional photographer Richard Heeps. We thought they were striking, dramatic and subtley beautiful. Full of atmosphere and drama.

One of them is below, called Towards Rock Hill, Salton Sea, California 2003.

This one breaks many rules, yet works.
  • The horizon is in the middle of the picture
  • Shooting into the sun
  • Massive blown-out sun reflection on the water
  • Tree in near central position
  • Underexposed

Any more you can think of? Point is, it works. It works really well (the actual print is stunning; much better than this low-res jpeg). Why? Does it work for you?

I think it is very simple, and the central placing of the sea and tree and sun just draws the eye to the amazing sun and tree silhouette, and the sun reflection does also. The underexposure mimicks what your eyes do when you stare into the sun, and there's just enough distant interest to hold your eye.

Brilliant stuff.



Gareth said...

I'm quite familiar with the Salton Sea because of this guy's work:

Anonymous said...

I think this shot works because of the interplay between the sun, its reflection on the water and the position of the silhouette of the tree. So when you first look at this shot your eye is drawn to the sun and you can almost feel its warmth and brightness. The tree then pulls the eye away from the sun which leads the eye to explore the rest of the photo.

The water is calm and not busy and therefore not distracting. There are mountains in the background which attract the eye but are only subtle.

All in all, it is a very calm, soothing shot for the eye.