Today we feature the picks of Kim Wilson. Based in the Los Angeles area, she specializes in travel, fine art, lifestyle and stock images, and has a number of photographic tutorial videos on YouTube.
To see Kim Wilson’s stellar PrintedArt collection, visit her portfolio.
Lead The Way
A great composition pulls us into the photograph and make us want to study it. I chose five images from the Printed Art collection that effectively use lines and unique angles to direct our eye to a specific spot that is deep into the photograph. You are mesmerized by the pathway and follow along in the direction the photographer has led you.
After choosing these images I realized they were all monotone. Some are black and white while others restrict the overall tonality to a specific shade or use a splash of color for effect. The restriction of color adds mood and mystery. I initially chose them for their composition but they also demonstrate the absolute basics of photography- the balance of light and dark along with the photographer's unique perspective. Each of these examples shows that we don't need color to tell a story. Color is just an additive and we can use as much or as little as we like. What matters most is the story and emotion the photographer wants to convey.
This image appears simple at first glance, just a row of square pillars. However, it has several great elements of complexity. The pillars are slanted so you don't see what's beyond them, effectively keeping us within their boundary. The row of pillars create deep shadows, in stark contrast to the light coming from the opening between each pillar. Combined they create a fan-shaped design on the ground. The composition is perfect as it leads the eye from the left to right across the photograph. What really makes this image stellar is the small silhouette of a boy toward the right side. It stops your eye, otherwise you would just move right off the edge of the image. It's the small subject deep within the photograph that pulls you in to explore the image further.
This one really caught my attention and kept studying it for a long time. The photographer did not create a graceful, gliding pathway into the image, instead you are hurled into the center of the image by all these converging lines with different widths and textures. The inclusion of the lines in the ceiling makes the image appear more three dimensional, too. It actually took me a few seconds to realize this was an escalator captured at an extreme wide angle. In the foreground, the slight blurring of the ceiling lights and textured strip between the two escalators is what provides the rate of movement that leads our eye right to the center. It does that first and then once you are drawn in, you stop to figure out where you are and pay more attention to other details in the photograph.
The original capture of this image was probably a perfectly lovely, yet, common photograph of an old wooden pier running above the ocean, perhaps on a sunny day. However, the stark black and white processing of the image creates negative space where we know the ocean and sky would naturally appear. It forces us to perceive something we all recognize in a different way. The wide orange-yellow wood plank, directly in the foreground, offers the only color and draws us in. We get to the edge and then our eye makes a sharp left turn to reveal the actual subject of the picture. By eliminating the water and sky, we are allowed to concentrate solely on the intricate design of the wooden pier.
I've been on this bridge in Florida and it is a bit disconcerting because you can not see the other half until you reach the top. Again, like the previous image, superfluous elements are eliminated allowing the photographer to lead us where he wants. The bright light at the end of the inclining highway certainly evokes something supernatural. The foreground is wonderfully composed, shot at a low angle and wide enough that the road reaches to either side of the frame, placing you squarely in the image and wondering, were does this road lead?
I hope you don't have vertigo as this image sends us spiraling out of control. The path created for our eye starts off gently with the ornate, curved handrail, and then we plummet to the bottom. As we fall, we can imagine trying to grab at each handrail because the lighting is so incredible as it lands directly on the curved railing of each floor. The flat edge of the staircase against the bottom of the frame contributes to the feeling of falling and the three-dimensional effect. One wrong step and you go right over. The overall tonality evokes the 1940's film noir era.