Sunday, October 2, 2011
The Psychology of the Lens
Lenses are then divided into three categories, wide angle, standard and telephoto with some zoom lenses spanning to range from all points within the gamut. These types of lens are typically not very good, because they are trying to handle too much within a single instrument, but can become good for beginner or novice photographers who can only afford one lens, generally at a cheaper price. Lenses are gauged and numbered based on their focal length, the lower the number, 28mm, the wider the angle of view; the higher the number, 300mm, the narrower the angle of view. It used to be, when you worked with a single focal length lens you would have to adjust yourself to the subject to compose the shots you wanted, but now with the multi focal lenses most people just point and shoot and adjust it with the lens. The disadvantage to this is that people become lazy because they no longer have to think about or work to get a shot and become less inclined to explore other possibilities for that particular shot or image. It also tends to make the photographer stand further away from the subject and not have to engage them, particularly with portraits. Typically the various focal lengths are associated with different styles of shooting and most photographers become enamored with a narrow focal length that begins to define their personal style. For instance photojournalism is shot with a wide angle to capture more of the environment and place the subject in the context of their settings. Example the cowboy image at the bottom. The context of that environment becomes the story of the image. Whereas someone who does intimate portraits wants the subject to become the point of interest, so they narrow in on the features of the face and capture what’s happening within the subjects expression and eyes. Yet someone else might focus on the intimate world of bugs and insects, birds or animals.
My style that I have developed over the years is to create a distance that has a voyeuristic quality, but at the same time creates a feeling of intimacy. It’s kind of a combination of the two sometimes right on the very edge of contradiction. I tend to use a medium focal length lens, that I must stand back from the subject and give them their space and privacy, yet enter and compress their world bringing the viewer into the psychological intimacy of these moments of emotion as they explore themselves becoming exposed. This is where the beauty of photography lies. Where I sync my own sense of identity and intimacy with that of the subject that stands before me naked. We all have a moment when we are raw and vulnerable, let our guard down, where we come to terms with our identity, that is often private and not revealed to ourselves, where we are allowed to exist within ourselves within the moment. This is the power of what I try to capture and what I have become and what I strive to express in my imagery.
VIEW FULL IMAGE: TRAVIS #356
VIEW FULL IMAGE: Travis #636
VIEW FULL IMAGE: Helmville Rodeo Montana #112