Sunday, 10 February 2013


Since yesterday's post I've been mulling over what the difference is between a snapshot and whatever the opposite of a snapshot is. It doesn't seem to be a simple differentiation to make. Certainly not in the blurry area between photographs made deliberately to embrace the snapshot's strengths and a snap, or when  it comes to a photograph that has had to be hastily taken to catch a fleeting moment.

It's much easier to make the distinction between a snapshot that has been made with no thought to framing or viewpoint and a photograph in which those two elements have been carefully considered. Popping out late this afternoon when I thought the rain was abating I managed to prove to myself that I am capable of making not-snaps.

My New Year resolution was to make more people photographs, and to force myself to interact with people in order to make them. Although the pier and seafront area usually has plenty of people about, even when it's raining, they aren't generally doing anything more than walking or sitting. People engaged in an activity are more interesting to both talk to and photograph. I drove past the pier to the end of the seafront where dog walkers park, and where horsey types take their steeds for a gallop along the sands. Today there was a horse box parked up, but no sign of horses. I wandered off making a few of my usual pictures of stuff along the high tide line until I spotted a couple of horses in the distance.

My timing was a little off in getting back to the car park. Mainly because I got sidetracked by a subject I've never seen from a particular angle before. However, I managed to get a few shots in while chatting to one of the riders before they boxed the horses. Most didn't work at all, or were soft or blurred. Two were technically okay and the one below I am quite happy with. Initially I was annoyed that the horse had shook its head, but on reflection I think the slight motion blur adds to the picture. The horizon was wonky, but when levelled the balance of the shot went out of kilter - the horse box got too close to the frame edge, so I left it not quite straight.

Things I like about the picture are the subdued colours and the splash of red, the space in the frame and the separation that gives between horse and rider and the horse box. What really pleases me, and which isn't apparent, is how I moved position so the horse hid a parked car. I guess it's doing things like that which differentiate snaps from photographs. The thought that's gone into the picture which isn't obvious to anyone viewing it - but which the photographer is aware of.

They say photograph composition is all about omission. Usually that refers to using the frame to crop your view so as to exclude stuff from the picture. But not always. Moving position to alter perspective can be just as effective.

Just to prove I'm not making the car up, here's a snap of another view of the same scene. Not only is the car in shot, part of the horse box looks more like it's some sort of helmet the animal is wearing.  Of course this effect can be used as deliberately to make a picture. One of my favourite examples is this one by Matt Stewart. Photography isn't just about shutter speeds and apertures and pin sharp images.

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