Friday, November 16

Titles - Spoleto 5

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Okay, let me stop for a moment here and look into the backroom to discuss some of the business of image collecting.

If you're an artist, photographer or not, or if you're a collector reading this blog you are out of wall space, right? So, what to do when you've created or discovered a new series that excites you? It's not so much that you want to show it off to others, althought this is as much a performing art as acting... but that you want to live with it. To enjoy it. To discover its subtlties, tones, ideas and feelings. These represent moments which have the potential of informing you about a lot of things.

What to do with twenty or thirty new images?

I'm thinking about creating one of those books that Apple lets me make. But they give me very little room for text. As you can see, text is almost as important to me as the image. Still, I'd like to see the images by themselves. Large. Oh well, if the book it the only way, then maybe it needs some text on the images here and there just to create useful divisions.

Which brings me to this image. As you know, when an image is used in a commercial publication, it normally needs air. By that I mean it needs room for the insertion of copy. I have taken commercial work for so many years that I automatically take a number of images with a lot of air. Frequently areas which cannot be cropped away, but if they are not filled they become negative space which pulls the visitor's eye away from the important message of the shot.

Here's an example. I really liked this image and this scene. It's a small corner of a very public place in Spoleto, which I'm certain everyone who knows the city will recognize. It balances the old and new, plus reveals the way some of this city seems stilled, not in the 1500s but in the 1950s. I think I caught that well in this scene,but the air unbalances the image. It is an identifier, don't you think? It calls out for a copy block of some sort where I've placed the title to make this a natural divider in a book. Comments?


mcmurma said...

I think the text works wonderfully well with this image and can hardly see how you could go wrong with a books worth of Spoleto images (or any other combination of your trip that I have seen for that matter!)

The self-published book these days is a remarkably affordable thing to do, and the quality on the few that I have seen is excellent. A friend at work had one done (snapfish I think?) and I was amazed with the quality and price. It really looked good.

Some of the pieces you have presented through your blog lately are so good that they leave me at a loss for words. I'll be trying to comment on more of them as the words come, but until then just know that I'm really enjoying your work. I also appreciate that you take the time to be so consistently supportive of my work. Thank you.

Ashley said...

Ted, you shots constantly amaze me... and this one is no exception! I wish I had a fragment of your talent.
I don't know much about photography... what do you mean when you say the photograph needs air?

Ted said...

(Mac) I continually return to your blogsite (Look for Tripping On Through among my links) because you are both a talented photographer and writer. Unfortunately you are too damned lazy to post more frequently and that frustrates me. I'd be there daily if you were. Heck, I am there daily just to check.

(Ashley) Your travel blog is amazing. You seem to find yourself in exotic places as frequently as I'm in Bird-In-Hand, or Blue Ball. Your shopping tips are an adventure.

As for your question about "air". Pick up any good glossy consumer magazine and look at the full page ads that are dominated by photos. See how the ad copy is laid into a spot which the photographer left for it? That's air. The rule of thirds is particularly useful for graphic designers, it leaves plenty of space to one side, above, or both for type.

Unfortunately wonderful art photographers create images with such discipline that no room remains for type, hence they are always wondering why no advertising agencies ever call to use them or their work.

Air is like the opening in the setting for a diamond. It is the center of the basket, the hole in the doughnut. I frequently leave air without thinking (since my work is frequently used to compliment editorial copy) - but that also frequently means that the image will not stand alone. This image of the center of Spoleto is a great example. Take out the caption and your eye is drawn right away to that empty spot it occupies.

When an image is to be used as a part of a graphic design (say to illustrate a travel story) a designer will like to find ways to use part of its area to insert relevant typography (title, caption, even blocks of text).

For another example of air see my posting for November 15th and ask yourself where a designer might lay-in type without damaging the picture. Sometimes the air works with or without type.