Saturday, 14 January 2017

The documentary urge

I'm beginning to wonder if my liking for the documentary approach is something to do with a liking for story telling. After all I like writing blogs about what I get up to. Maybe it's part of the same thing? The current fashion is to talk about 'narrative', but that's the same as story telling. Except it tends to mean a series of pictures (in this context), whereas you can tell a story with one picture. If it contains a number of elements.

This is why I prefer environmental portraits to the sort that I usually see when 'portrait' is mentioned on a photo-forum. There seems to be no desire to paint a picture of the lives of people, just attempts to make pictures which isolate the subject, and usually flatter them. What I'm trying to do with my beach project is at least hint at what the people are doing. So when I met a birdwatcher loaded up with tripod, scope, camera and binoculars i was pleased when he agreed to be photographed. This time I made sure to leave space around him. The clothing and the wintry marsh colours work well together to my eye.

While I was out along the haul road across the marsh I tried to capture the scene. There was interesting light, but not having a tripod with me the hand held shots are not too great. For some reason the square crop seemed to work. I did get some ideas of how to progress the landscape aspect of this beach project though. So maybe I'll return better equipped.

Elsewhere I came across members of the coastguard service attending to a washed up pilot whale* carcass. The first time I've seen anything that large on the shore. Once more my request for a photograph was met with acceptance and I made a couple of frames. The landscape orientation worked best for the storytelling aspect, including the whale and the coastguard vehicle. Not the prettiest of sights, but I'm not in the game of pretty pictures.

for my purposes the light today was great. Bright but not harsh and with skies which weren't a uniform grey. Not what landscape photographers seem to prefer, but ideal to give the feeling of a wintry beachscape. Story telling again.

* Later formally identified as a Risso's dolphin

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