This week's challenge is Conceptual Photography. What is that you ask? According to Wikipedia, "it is a type of photography that illustrates an idea." I thought, isn't that all of photography? However, instead of capturing a decisive moment like Street Photography or how cute your puppy is Conceptual Photography is about staging the photo to express an idea. Okay great, I had that figured out. Now what? What ideas did I want to communicate and how would I capture them in a photograph?
I had no idea on either part.
To start with it would help to have an idea.
Then it hit me. One of the things that are most striking about The Boy is that he never stops moving. I know all toddlers are busy and into exploring and learning about the world. The Boy takes this to a whole other level. Additionally, he's a complete and total ham at the same time (he gets this from his mother.) So, my idea was to try to capture the frenetic energy of a toddler. How was I going to capture that?
With digital imaging tools, such as Photoshop, becoming easier and cheaper to use, photographs that are composites have become more popular to make. It's a fairly simple task of taking several shots and then masking them together to show your subject in multiple places within the same shot. You can see a simple tutorial here. I thought that I would take several shots of The Boy as he runs around and then composite them together into one photo.
Now I wanted to show how much the kid moves so to emphasize this I needed to use a slower shutter speed, in this case 1/5 of a second. I know this sounds backwards from what one might expect. Fast shutter speeds are great for freezing motion. If you want to show the Pitcher in a baseball game just after he has released a pitch with the ball in flight? Use a shutter speed faster than 1/1000 of a second. If you want to give the impression of how much something is moving using a slower shutter speed will allow your subject to blur. This gives a better impression of movement.
So, I had my idea and how I wanted to capture it. The next question to answer was how to get The Boy to cooperate? I wouldn't. I decided to set up the camera on my tripod in the corner of the living room with my wide-angle lens. That way I could ensure that the whole room would be in the frame. I then set up my camera with my wireless remote. I could then just fire off shots as The Boy went about his typical evening running, jumping, and playing ALL OVER THE ROOM. I would then pick and choose the best examples to make the picture. At first he was confused why the camera shutter kept firing. He soon ignored it and went about his evening.
I ended up taking 93 shots. Out of those I chose 8. Some of them were too blurry or they weren’t interesting or they overlapped with shots of The Boy that I had already picked out. I thought I was going to have more trouble with this. I just needed to take some time and think things through. I'm pretty pleased with what I made.
I have written enough. It’s time for the photo.
I give you “The Frenetic Energy of a Toddler.