Exercise: Multiple Points

The exercise for multiple points used the construction of a single ‘scene’ to develop understanding of how multiple points can imply shapes and lines. This was about building an effective still life. The photos below document the building of such a photo using a series of objects (in my case, tools from my tool box) using the camera in a fixed position (tripod mounted). By using a prime lens (35mm) I was unable to adjust the framing as the scene developed, instead I had to experiment with the position and location of objects to create a final grouping that hung together visually.

The photos represent each major change or addition to the composition.

All shots ISO 200, f/13, 1/30 sec, 35mm (prime lens)

Using a combination of my garden and trusty toolbox as a backdrop, I began by placing a chisel in the frame.

Next I added a small spirit level and mallet, I chose to place the mallet this way up in contrast to the chisel for the sake of interest.

I tried the hacksaw behind the mallet and chisel but it was lost, even at this stage. Attempts to balance it worked better with the mallet reversed in position so that was the first change. I quite liked the ‘N’ created by the chisel, mallet and hacksaw at this stage.

Adding the plane, I decided the chisel and the ‘N’ it created looked great but only whilst there were few objects in frame so I reconstructed the arrangement putting the ‘business end’ of the chisel and mallet together with the aim of keeping the view looking towards the middle of the frame.

I began to add some smaller tools, pliers and a screwdriver. Initially I stood these against the toolbox but that didn’t look great as the composition started to look like a row of tools in a catalogue, not a photo!

Tape measure and spanner were next to join, the smaller tools were starting to feel a bit lost as they lacked the black background of the toolbox, at this stage I decided to complete the initial placing of the tools in the frame before trying to correct.

With the final tools added, I tried to ‘tighten’ the arrangement up by moving the tools a little closer together. This helped but I started to feel things were a bit too linear again and a bit untidy. The red of the plane was also distracting. I could see a triangle in the arrangement but it wasn’t clearly coming through.

So the final image, I’ve moved a couple of objects, first I changed the position of the black multi-tool to break the linear feel in the centre of the frame, I also turned over the plane taking away the red. In the process I realised just how many of my tools are black and yellow (no, its not an advert for Stanley!!).

The final composition has two triangles implied (annotated above), the first to the outside of the arrangement, the second within it. Although all the tools are quite angular, the combination of vertical, diagonal and horizontal lines breaks the image from just looking like a row of tools.

As the exercise suggested, this took a while to put together and to be honest, I had two completely false starts before achieving a result I was happy with. The complexity generated by multiple points, particularly when the objects are all different shapes and colours presents an interesting challenge but quite enjoyable to final resolve.



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