I had the opportunity to work with Ryan Smith again recently. He’s been putting in serious work on on his website (Richmond Cemeteries) and is now turning a portion of that work into a book (Death and Rebirth in a Southern City: Richmond’s Historic Cemeteries). Ryan came by to talk a bit about pictures for the book which led to a field trip (Hebrew Cemetery and Shockoe Street Cemetery) and I think some useful reflections on how the balance between technology, technical proficiency, and art works together to make something interesting. It’s a bit of rambling tour of a series of issues that are specific to this task (getting high quality images of grave markers for a book) but are also illustrative of larger things. Basic Considerations Light Light matters quite a bit. When we looked through Ryan’s initial photos many of them were taken in very bright light. That’s good in some scenarios but leads to really hard shadows. In any photo, thinking hard about where the light is and how it falls will be key in creating the image you want. Usually you want the light behind you. Usually you want it to be soft. I showed up a little before sunrise but I didn’t have a shot list and I’d never visited the site before. That led […]
I’m pretty sure I’ve taken this shot before. Maybe multiple times. I still like the mix of lines and the bright yellow of the bricks. There’s also a pink stripe in the room which I didn’t see before. I like all the geometry here- triangles, squares, rectangles, and the half circle of the wreath. Having the beware warning from Halloween up in February is also a plus. Bright snow. Dark trashcan. Another geometry based shot. The signs, the shadows and building all mix together to make something that feels interesting to me. The lady on the phone ends up nicely highlighted. VCU street crossings can be an interesting mix of people and shapes. I liked the color of the leaves against the green of the garage door across the street. The person walking by hurts things a bit. I should have been more patient.