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dudler’s latest blog : lending your understanding

dudler's latest blog : art, snap or reportage

Lending your understanding

30 Jul 2021 11:40AM  
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I came across a lovely description of the MR James’s voice while reading a lesson in church as being delightful: he “lend you his understanding” of the text. Even 100 years ago, this was quite an achievement for most listeners with a lesson from the King James Bible.

This is something that we should aspire to achieving without photographs, showing people not only what was in front of us, but sharing more of the background, more of the facts about the situation. The question is, though, how we can achieve it.

Unless you’re very lucky indeed this is going to require a lot of thought. You will need to consider what a viewpoint gives you a bird’s eye view of your subject, so that a landscape resembles a map, and you can trace routes through the geography and relate one part of the scene to another in a way which reflects reality. This isn’t as easy as it seems – perhaps there is a curve in a path as it passes through a dip, or a gate which is at right angles to the film plane so that it isn’t visible.

If you are photographing a workshop the image needs to show what is done there and the tools used to do it in a way that reduces or eliminates the need for a written explanation. How do you make it clear that the pieces of wood on the bench will be assembled into a camera? Or how would you convey the idea that the round thing in the vice is the alternator from a car under repair?

Trying to find a good example in my own portfolio proved somewhere between difficult and impossible. We’ll have to make do with a view of Symi from the room we stayed in in 2015, which at least shows the complexity of this town. (I’d planned to use a view of Lindos – but Symi is an easier place to explain, visually…) And it makes me want to go back for another holiday on Rhodes: sadly, it would be this year.

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