In our last meeting we looked at the use of different formats – landscape, portrait, square, panorama etc and the ways that choice of format may affect our photographs, shaping and altering meaning and mood. As usual, there were as many different choices and reasons for them as there were people! Some people had particular favourite formats whereas others happily swopped formats to order, depending on the subject matter. There were examples of the same picture in different formats – standard landscape, 5×4 ratio, 16×9 wide or square and each variant had its own mood. One thing that became apparent was that composing in camera rather than imposing a format afterwards seemed to be the preferred method and for the most part resulted in a more harmonious effect. This is not to advocate that cropping is ‘wrong’ and in fact, some people did not like be constrained by a particular crop whilst shooting, preferring to make the decision in post-production.
The horizontal panoramic format was shown to be particularly suited to open landscape studies, giving the impression of how the eye works from one side to the other whilst walking, and also very good at rendering rhythmic pattern. Some unusual vertical crops of tree bark isolated the detail and played with the sense of scale. Still life studies, which are traditionally shot in landscape mode to emulate painting were shown instead in portrait format giving a striking effect. Where portraits are concerned, an observation was made that subjects automatically adopted a more formal pose when the camera was wielded in portrait mode, relaxing when it was turned to landscape!
Square formats are usually viewed as quite static and formal with the subject central in the frame, but diagonal or unusual compositions which broke the normal rules were shown to be equally effective. The square format was viewed by some as perfectly balanced, self-contained and harmonious (but then I admit, I am biased!) If the evening does nothing else, it will probably have persuaded some of us to be a bit more adventurous in our choice of format.
Our next meeting will take place on Wednesday 14th November 2012 at 18.45 at the usual venue – The Artworkers Guild, 6 Queens Square, Bloomsbury, London WC1N 3AT, when we will be having a prints only session. We have become so used to seeing our work displayed on monitors that sometimes we can forget what a pleasure it is to view good prints close-up. If you have any prints on any subject whatsoever, big or small, digital or darkroom, and would like to share them, please bring them along on the night. No electronic media this time.
And finally, just a reminder that the Central London Group will be holding our first group show next month 13th-18th November at the Art Pavilion, Mile End Park. The Private View is on Tues 13th November 6.30-8.30pm. Full details here. It promises to be an excellent and varied show and we look forward to seeing many of you there.