Just a Flower

Just a flower I found growing by a building in Tiburon.

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Wildflowers and some additional inspiration

I went to the Asian Art Museum last week to see a couple of their exhibits – “Floating World” and “Printer’s Eye”.  among the many amazing pieces of art (among them a 58′ print of the Yoshiwara District in Edo) I was reminded of something that I think photographers think about too seldom – the fact that we are not constrained by the proportions of our work.

Most photographs are equitangular quadrilaterals of some type or another, but we are used to making and cropping our photos into formats that are a) similar to the square or rectangular shapes that we are used to, which give them that characteristic “photo” shape, or the similar format of magazine covers or interior photos.  But it doesn’t have to be that way.  Particularly now that we have access to a lot of computational cropping tools, we can create art in a wide variety of shapes and sizes.

Many of the prints on display were formatted as wall hangings – that is, long and narrow to fill a small vertical space on a wall more completely than our contemporary photo shapes do.  Long and narrow also allowed for a better study of vertical relationships, and allowed for a different use of negative space (often used to highlight a symbolic aspect of the piece such as a tree branch or bird).  There were also pieces formatted to be part of a screen, or the decoration of a fan, or pieces selected as part of a larger work which had different formatting.

For my first piece today I decided to try the narrow, vertical format with a picture of some wildflowers I took recently.

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