Assignment Objectives Demonstrate to the instructor that you know how to emphasize something in a balanced composition. Prove that you know what sharpening or leveling is and that you can use them with intention.
Description Create a balanced photograph that clearly uses emphasis. In the Class Discussion, explain in detail the kind of emphasis it uses and whether it leans towards leveling or sharpening. Then explain why you made the decisions you did in the context of the overall expression. For example, why did leveling or sharpening go better with the subject matter?
Assignment Background This is your first test of the module's content. I am particularly interested in your rationale for using leveling or sharpening. Neither sharpness or leveling are inherently good or bad. The question is: Which one is appropriate towards what you're trying to express. If you want to create a "peaceful, easy feeling," then you should probably think about leveling. If you want to convey dynamics and energy, then you should probably think about sharpening. The way you organize the formal elements has an expression all its own. It may be subtle, but it's there. The danger with leveled works is they might be so simplistic that they're boring. The danger with sharpened works is you have more balls in the air to juggle.
IMPORTANT The images you create for this assignment should be meaningful to you and should move beyond mere technical exploration.
My image is an example of leveling. Using the module's factors that contribute to leveling, it reads from left to right, the main visual elements are organized on the bottom half of the frame instead of the top and uses simple shapes instead of complex ones.
One of the benefits of living in Seattle is that our buildings are pretty interesting. The triangle frame work that I am shooting through is actually the side of the library. I knew for this assignment that I wanted to shoot downtown. I took a few pictures in a couple of different places which looked visually interesting, but really had nothing to say.
This is looking to the courts for balance. The building itself is full of symmetrical lines with the windows, the doors and the two flags. I chose to shoot through the triangle because it is a hard metal framing which is what the law and court system is meant to be. However, it isn't perfect. The bottom of the steps slants a little to the left , there is a tree on the left side, but not the right (appropriate if you know the State of Washington's politics). The contrast between the building's straight lines and right angles versus her rounded hat, rounded shoulders and circular neckline was intentional to show the difference between the people as individuals versus the law as a structure.My Teacher's Note:
What an excellent and complicated image. I truly appreciate how much you've considered every detail for this shot, both formally and conceptually. Well done.
I would consider this a very leveled image, though it's certainly a visually challenging scene in that you don't have any open space - every bit of the image is filled with different lines, shapes and angles - but your use of the metal framing helps to contain every element and bring it all to order. Though moving the woman to the center would certainly create indisputable symmetry, it would create tension in the narrative. Sometimes having everything perfectly balanced can feel uneasy and forced. In this case, it would lead me to read the narrative as a woman confronting these halls of justice; whereas now, I get the sense that she's calmly contemplating the scene. Does this make sense?
My Classmates' critiques:
"Now this is a level picture. In fact the only thing that would make it leveler (is that a word?) is if you could have placed a large bubble level on the edge of the building. :) I guess for perfection you could have asked the person to move a little to the right, but that might have been too symmetrical and boring."
"I feel that the woman needs to shift more to the center for this photo to be perfectly balanced and leveled."
I responded "I tried it with her in the center and it felt wrong. I also tried it from a couple of different angles as well. This one just clicked to me (no pun intended) more so than the others."
"I do agree with Stephanie, the woman should be more in the middle. I think the reason why you felt it was wrong to place the woman in the middle is because there is a lot going on with the building at the end. The windows distract the eyes, but I might be wrong. "
"What an amazing image! So many tensions here. I know that you have the main visual elements on the bottom portion of the image but due to the size of the white vertical lines that are framed my eye immediately is drawn there. To me I see the individual as a secondary subject and the building with the vertical white frames as the main subject.
Either way the image is so strong. There are so many abstract shapes and the idea to shoot through the side of the building was genius. The vertical lines on the building, the horizontal lines on the building separating the bricks on the bottom from the lines on the top, the long flag posts, the rails on the stairs, the stairs, the lines on the concrete and the frame you used are all so geometric and interesting. I love the contrast of the rounded hat and figure that offset the strength of the geometric lines.
"I agree! Imagine how amazing this image would be if the woman moved just a bit more to the right."