Secrets of Digital Photography

Digitalia 5            03 31 02



T R A V E L   F E A T U R E

 Lose respect. If one loses their respect ("respect" is literally "re-seeing") for the standard sort of tourist image, new things will have an opportunity to blossom.

So there I was in Venice with my wife (mia sposa fantastica) suddenly faced with an unusually large plaza with a bright red bench. Oh, I could have taken tourist image number 1B and had this:


But I was not pleased with such an arrangement. Not much of a story in the shot and it is a plain and simple image that said nothing about the special place and surroundings. Which were not so ordinary, after all.

Widening out, I realized that there was a little story afoot. Some guy was extremely interested in the contents of that trash receptacle I had so carefully cropped out of the shot. Could that be an opportunity? I saw that there was a rather contrapuntal composition shaping up.



But as I looked around, I saw that the entire square was filled with stories of a sort. When I say "stories," I mean a visual frame that tells more than just a picture of a subject.

It's sort of like a sentence. There is the subject, of course, but a sentence has a verb--the thing the subject is doing or experiencing--and there are the modifiers.

Woman sits on bright red bench while spy collects secret plans at a "drop."

Too imaginative, perhaps. But he does seem to be part of an overall "scene" populated by atmosphere people on non-red benches.

Subject. Verb. Modifiers. A sentence of language tells a story in a small, compact form. A story in a photograph needs to tell a visual sentence.

But what was the real story here? Looking around at the plaza, I realized that the place was the story and the woman on the bench was just an element within it. Eight shots later, the fuller story could be experienced.

There is a drama unfolding. The red bench, once the focus of the shot, is now the anchor around which people carry out stories oblivious to the camera. Only the woman on the bench looks at us. But who is being seen here? The woman or the camera? (Nobody said the story in a photograph couldn't be a mystery...)

Our eyes connect with the central subject and wander off to see thirty people transitioning, reading, expressing their relaxation or stoicism. All within the context of more than a dozen Venetian buildings. And not a canal in sight.


Nikon Coolpix 995. Manual mode to lock exposures. Photoshop stitching 8 images together.

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More to come...






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