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I'm a Cairns, far north Queensland, Australia professional photographer specialising in travel, editorial and environmental portraiture.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Choosing your background 2

A few posts back I talked about how it's often a good idea to choose your background first, and then wait for somebody interesting to walk into the frame. This shot is similar in style to that concept only in this case I didn't wait for somebody to walk into the frame.

The monk was meditatings in front of the Bodnath stupa in Kathmandu, Nepal. My job was not merely to show a monk meditating but to frame the picture so that you could tell something about where he was. An environmental portrait.

So the background was very important because it had to tell the story. If I had stood directly in front of the monk the background would be the stupa, or more to the point the white painted wall of the stupa. All white, no shape, no context. Unless you knew the place personally you wouldn't know what it was. So I needed the curved edge of the stupa.

Once I had found an angle that would show the curved edge of the stupa I then had to make sure that the big empty gap in the top left hand frame wasn't just blank space. Well I guess it could have been, but I wanted to fill it with another story-telling element. So I walked around the base of the stupa until you could see brightly colored prayer flags running through the sky.

And so I took an ordinary portrait of a monk, and with a bit of thought and walking managed to create a portrait that shows the environment in which the monk has decided to place himself for his afternoon meditation.


Anonymous said...

Discovered your blog a few weeks ago and have been reading avidly since. Great to read something about photography that's about process and not equipment. Please keep up the good work!


Paul Dymond said...

Thankyou so much for the comments Ed, it's great to have you aboard. I've been on holiday for the last ten days and only just got back so I'll be back to posting tomorrow!