week 32 | 2011

2011, Photography, Project, weekly project


Thinking of photography it is a just another form of communication. And one that is also restricted by our own vocabulary. I mean, I don’t consider myself anything of a writer although I still try to do so on my blog. But I do also notice that I very much often stick to the same words, the same kind of sentences. It is what I am familiar with, even more so with a foreign language. And that same thing also applies to my (and likely anyone elses) photography. We have our own vocabulary to in photography. Formed by what we know, what we like and dislike, what we have, and who we are. So often I see photographs I wish I would have taken them, but no matter how hard I try I still see and feel differently.


I still try to extend my vocabulary, but the routine of doing so is often restricted by what I already know. And from there on I try to grow gradually. Does that sound logically? Take formats for instance. Most of my photographic years I have always photographed in the 3:2 format. And while some think 4:3 works better vertically and is therefore better I can’t really be bothered with that. And to be honest, I hardly shoot in portrait mode anyway. So do I want to stick to 3:2? Nope. More than ever before I have some interest to shoot in square format.


I have this option to shoot in square with my Ricoh cameras, but I almost never used it. It is now with my Panasonic GF1 and the small electronic viewfinder that I think it is something I really want to use. You can twist the viewfinder and use the camera like a medium format camera. Pretty amazing. And even though this viewfinder is pretty low on the pixel count I am still surprised how well it actually works. Still hope that Panasonic updates this viewfinder with a new one that is comparable with the Olympus electronic viewfinders.

Well anyway, at square format I was (I started using it this week). And the vocabulary. There is nothing wrong to excel in what you are good at (very good in fact), but it also makes perfect sense to learn new words or visual means to express yourself. It enables us to extend our horizon with new verbal and visual languages.

The photographs of this ongoing project will also be updated here.

All photographs by Wouter Brandsma

16 thoughts on “week 32 | 2011

  1. Very interesting reasoning. And one I can relate to. Really like your “vocabulary” analogy. For some reason I have a congenital disability for communicating in 3:2 ratio. All my pictures in that format SUCK!! Go figure. I seem to “talk” better in 16:9, or even 1:1. But when it comes to expanding your “vocabulary” I feel like a 365 project may not be the best thing: I found that while engaged in it, it did nothing but “anchor” me to a language that I had already made mine. This may very well be a personal thing…

    Always enjoy your views. Keep them coming!!

    Erik.

    1. And did you continue the entire year Erik? In a 365 project you will at some point return to the same subjects over and over again. To keep your photographs interesting you might start to see it differently. And remember, like Gary Winogrand always said: “Everything can be photographed.”

      1. I was doing “iPhone 365” this year. And then, on day 120 my iPhone got stolen in Congo. I actually replaced it and managed to have it stolen a second time in less than two weeks!! That was unlucky. It was the end of it…I still take pictures every day, I am just not considering it a “daily project”, though I have to admit that the part I enjoyed the most was sharing them and getting feedback from people…

        1. By the way, I noticed (and actually quite like) your switch to color photography. I like the “subtle” use of it.Very nice indeed…

  2. Wouter wederom een sterke kleurenserie. Vooral de tweede foto spreekt me erg aan. De mooie groene natuurlijke kleuren en de zachte bokeh. De foto van je dochter is vooral sterk door de nieuwsgierige expressie in haar ogen binnen een dromige context.

    1. Ik heb veel vaker prikkeldraad gefotografeerd en eigenlijk altijd in zwart-wit. Dit was de eerste keer in kleur en voor het eerst had ik er ook hetzelfde gevoel bij als dat ik het in zwart-wit maak.

  3. Your colour work here is far more resonant and richer… the lovely pale lemon yellow in your daughter’s portrait.

    great work looking foward to your square adventures !

  4. What an incredibly beautiful photograph of the little girl. I love the colour, it is reminiscent of a Dutch painting; soft subtle, full of emotion and just a touch of sentiment. It is beautiful. Well done, i envy your skill and eye.

  5. mooie serie en vooral het portret van je dochter vind ik prachtig en de kleur past hier heel prachtig bij! Je kleuren foto’s spreken mij ook erg aan.

  6. Beautiful colour and tone. In linguistics they talk both of dialect and idiolect. The dialect is the common speech characteristics of a group. The idiolect is the speech characteristic of the individual. This is why writers can share style, yet have an individual & recognizable quality. So when we speak with photographs, we may share commonality, but have developed an idiolect of light, angle, distance framing, colour and so forth.

  7. As far as formats, I was reading a book on compostion. Photographic Composition by Richard Zakia and David Page. A lot of folks tout that the 3:2 of the 35mm is the closest to the golden section, etc. Anyway the book has an appendix wherein they speak to golden mean (section). They mention in the 1800s Gustav Fechner, a German psychologist did a study to find out the size preference of paintings. It turned out the answers coordinated to the golden mean of 1.62. Meaning length is 1.62 times height. Then he actually went to a museum and measured paintings. The average proportion of actual paintings in museums was 4:3 (1.33) for horizontals and 5:4 for verticles.

    Myself I like all ratios at times, but probably tend to 4:3 or 1:1 if given a camera with choice or if I need to crop a photo.

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