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2019.08.12-08.17

posted Aug 18, 2019, 7:57 AM by Adnan Onart   [ updated Aug 18, 2019, 7:58 AM ]
Visitors or Pictures not Taken

Hood Museum

Photographers can be defined by the pictures they take as well as the pictures they don’t take.  The pictures they avoid taking may contribute, at least,  to the self-definitions of photographers. 

I don’t know whether I can be considered a street photographer, but I take pictures of life (city life) in progress in public spaces and I try to comply as closely as possible with the golden rule of street photography: don’t take pictures of people in a way you wouldn’t want your picture to be taken. So I avoid taking pictures of people doing something they may consider embarrassing, people under distress, not looking their best… Along similar lines, I am not a landscape photographer, but I like to take pictures depicting the neighborhoods I live or dwell in, the towns I visit: not landscapes, but cityscapes if you like. But I avoid taking pictures that could be considered a postcard. Maybe because photographers who are producing postcards are professional or commercial craftspeople who might know how to do this perfectly and they do their work with the best tools under best conditions. It might be also difficult to put a personal signature on such photographs — not aligned with the aspirations of a photography enthusiast.  

Another kind of picture I enjoy taking photographs in museums or art galleries. But doing so, I avoid taking pictures that might have been in the catalog of artifacts or artworks on display. As in the case of postcards, I assume that the professional or commercial photographers are best suited to take those pictures and it is again difficult to put a personal signature on those.

So what kind of pictures I take in such places: Before anything else, I try to get people in my pictures — visitors looking at the artwork or artifacts on display. Also, I try to capture the visitors who are not looking at the displays but get lost on the screens of their phone and immersed in a conversation with each other.  I pay attention to their postures, gestures… 

There are other considerations I pursue while taking pictures in the museums or art galleries: I try to incorporate the shadows created by the displays. This doesn’t work well with paintings, but it seems to create some interesting effect with sculptures, masks, other 3D objects, and with objects in glass containers. I also rely on shallow depth of field with such objects to articulate a detail. In general, I get close to depicting a detail of a 2D or 3D object.  Trying compositions by juxtaposing multiple elements might be another technique: something in the foreground, something in the background for contrast or complementation.

Yes, I take also pictures that might be postcard or catalog style. But I mean these for myself as a memory jogger for a scene we enjoyed or a piece of artwork we found interesting. Actually, a phone-camera is the best-suited tool for such pictures. Still, nothing compares to looking through a viewfinder: going through that tiny tunnel and attaching oneself to the here-and-now. The viewfinder is the gadget for visual phenomenology.

You can these pictures on the following WEB sites:

Additional information about the location: https://hoodmuseum.dartmouth.edu/