Exercise 1.2: Point

26th January 2021

For this exercise we are looking at points in images. Points draw the viewers eye to a specific position on the picture plane and is known as the term, focal point. By composing the image with a strong focal point or point of interest, the viewer becomes engaged with the image and the photographer can use it to create emotions, to activate memories and different responses, as well as to give information so that the viewer can interpret the content within the image.

As the photographer, I control the placement of the focal point in my images and for this exercise we are asked to ‘Take three or four photographs in which a single point is placed in different parts of the frame’ OCA Expressing your Vision, course folder p.23.

As you can see from the below images the Mars bottle is not small enough to really see the impact of the point within a negative space. To follow this up, as seen in the annotated images, I added an orange point to the centre of the bottle which makes the focal point, the dot, smaller in the frame. If we view the dot as the point of interest then its placement within the negative space draws our eyes in and the compositions begin to add a balance and interest to the image.

Unfortunately I am not happy with my first attempt which is the Mars drink bottle due to the fact that I do not believe that the bottle is small enough within the picture frame for the exercise as the brief states, ‘So compositionally, a point has to be small within the frame…’ OCA Expressing your Vision, course folder p.23.

This exercise is actually proving hard for me although it is a simple one. I have tried to set up other shots but there is always something getting into the frame which is helping my composition, for example a leading line from a table edge or a line from other objects that are leading the eyes towards the focal point.

For the last trial I went outside hoping that the larger environment would be easier to work in, this series can be seen below the Mars bottle images.

The Mars bottle

Contact sheet: Point

Second shoot

For the second shoot I decided to visit the local park bench with my daughters. The three shots below draw the viewers eye straight to the focal point of the sitters on the bench.

Benching It

In the above images the viewers eyes are drawn straight to the point of interest which is the figures on the bench. Each focal point lay on one of the four intersection points giving a strong and balanced image.

Below are images that I shot without any rules, placing the point of interest into a corner of the picture plane. These images are easier to critique and show annotations on how the composition in relation to the point of interest are unsuccessful.

This exercise proved hard for me because I had to actually acknowledge and think about the focal point. Usually I just find the point naturally, framing it with other compositional values such as leading lines and negative spaces that balance with the positive space/s. Actually trying to deconstruct the image was a hard task and I am not sure why?

I noticed that when there is an abundance of unnecessary negative space my eyes flit about the space, the process of looking at these areas actually remind me of playing squash when the ball involuntary bounces from one surface to another.

Contact sheets can be found on the blog post: Exercise 1.2: Point – Contact sheets


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