As a photographer I spend a good deal of my time prowling my environment in the hopes of being surprised. I want to turn each corner having no idea what I’m going to be confronted with, whether it’s my first time in that location or the hundredth. A sense of place is part of what I’m after, to find a way to convey what it felt like to be in that specific place at that particular time.
Sometimes I find myself struck by a unique building or object I feel the urge to document, but more often than not it’s an indefinable arrangement of elements and a quality of light that’s gotten my attention.
Although it had until recently been a Pentecostal church, there’s nothing about its current state to suggest what this building’s current function is. Originally, it was most certainly built as a house of modest proportions on a lot not much larger than its footprint. However, as has been the case with a great many such places in Los Angeles, it has likely served a number of functions over the years. Neighborhoods change along with the structures within them, often regardless of the adaptability of those structures to their new uses.
The shadows are a definite bonus, alluding to objects beyond the frame and activating the composition. Without them, the image would lose dimension and fall apart. It’s difficult to say whether the white frame on the left represents a long gone window, although, like the shadows, if you were to take it away the picture would be diminished to the point of not being worth making. I would certainly have rejected it during the editing process if I had thought to make it at all.
I don’t know that I’m aware of any of this while I’m actually making an image. I can tell you I feel an overall sensation that I’m responding to when I stop and raise the camera to my eye. What I’m reacting to might be as mundane as liking the way the Italian cypress peeks up over the roof. From that starting point I just trust that everything else in the frame has fallen into place.
What do you think are the TWO most impactful features that make your image a good photograph? Don’t be shy!
The white windowless window frame and the shadow of the utility pole turned out pretty good.
If you would be able to make this photo once again, what would be the ONE thing you would like to do better or different?
Regrets over what I might have done differently and didn’t are a luxury I generally don’t indulge in.
Douglas Hill shared this photograph in the FRAMES Facebook Group.
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