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MattKing
10-22-2009, 12:34 AM
Is the model in your avatar at the top of the stairs? :).

I like #1, because it is less ordinary (a horizontal crop of stairs).

Matt

JMC1969
10-22-2009, 12:45 AM
I have the same odd urge about stairs. I like three the best, but then I tend to shoot stairs in a more vertical (in this format). If it's a horizontal look I am going for, it will be a detail in a step itself. It's not the leading of the stairs that gets me, it's really the lines and shadows that they create, 2 steps closer, sideways, taller, you have a completely different look. It's all about the character and drama. The more crap growing out of them the better, well places chips and dents makes my mind wander and think of the circumstances in how they became. I love them and actually, they are one of the things I love about walking around the European cities I have had the chance to visit. But, So far, nobody has them like Scotland. My 4x5 is going with me next time just for this reason. Ok, maybe not JUST this reason, but I'm sure I will have quite a few.

ntenny
10-22-2009, 01:15 AM
I'd go further than some other posters have suggested, and crop #3 (from the bottom) all the way down to a square.

Interestingly, it was #2, the one that no one else has spoken up for, that grabbed me initially. The light is a little more even than in the other two, and I think that works well---it makes it into a picture of the stairs as an object, rather than "stairs leading somewhere". On reflection, I think the composition of that one doesn't work so well, but the interaction of light and subject is a winner.

I think there's no shame in having an inexplicable subject that grabs you. For me it's doors, with the proviso that you can't see the other side---they can be closed, or slightly open, or the other side can be too dark or too light to be distinguished, but if the viewer can see beyond the door, it doesn't push my buttons. Who knows why; I just run with it and figure that my future descendants can ask themselves "What the heck was it with Great-Grandpa and doors, anyway?"

-NT

sun of sand
10-22-2009, 02:49 AM
3 by a wide margin
I think you could cut off the bottom half to what may be a 4x5 ratio as I read up there and have a tighter photo
less about the stairs more about the light/varying tones

bed

Anton Lukoszevieze
10-22-2009, 03:42 AM
I think No. 3 works best, the portrait format works better than the landscape view. I would foto it more and with different light states. But, yeh stairs are cool, not weird. Look at Brassai shot of stairs in Paris, Kertesz' Mondrian's studio, etc.

Dan Henderson
10-22-2009, 08:09 AM
Thanks for all the input. I agree about the planning thing - but knowing how my head works if I turn the theme into a project I will become unbearable. I will put it on my list of someday projects. I have like 70 prints of stairs that I have made just from walkabouts.

When I saw these I wondered how many people use these everyday? For how long? Nobody seems to give a crap about them or a second thought and they look like they might be completely useless as stairs in like not too too long. Then what?

RB

First, I would say that if you have 70 prints of stairs you already have a project. Second, for reasons that you may not yet understand, and the rest of us do not have to understand, you are drawn to photograph this subject. It is what you are supposed to do, so do it. Awhile back Cheryl Jacobs posted a wonderful quote by Martha Graham about following your own path in art.

BobNewYork
10-22-2009, 08:41 AM
I have to go with #2. (Just to be a PITA!!) These stairs lead either nowhere, and I like the mystery in that, or they lead where I want them to lead - and I like the freedom in that. For me, there aren't enough steps in #1 to be leading anywhere; and in #3 you've told me where they go - no more mystery. I think the preponderance of dark tones in the steps require mystery. (Then again I just got in the Halloween candy so maybe I'm getting carried away - or should be :D)

I like 'em - keep it up.

Bob H

PS while we're in confession mode - I haven't seen a door lock or door handle that I could pass by with a camera. Face it - we're all afflicted.

Paul Jenkin
10-22-2009, 08:42 AM
# 3 gets my vote thought I'm struggling to come up with a specific reason other than "it looks right".

If you have a thing about stairs, don't visit Whitby on the North Yorkshire coast. There's a set of stairs there that must be the most photographed set of stairs anywhere on the planet.....!!

Tim Gray
10-22-2009, 10:21 AM
I've thought about #1 and why I like it. I like how it's dark, yet there is light coming in from the top. I want the framing to show more of what's on top, especially with the light shining from above BUT because it's not framed that way is the exact reason it draws me. I want to see what's not revealed.

DLawson
10-22-2009, 11:26 AM
You are weird! Stairs? You should be like me and have hundreds of images of benches! Every time i see one i have to shoot it.

What a waste. You could be spending that time shooting dead trees.

Some people!

DLawson
10-22-2009, 11:29 AM
Which one? None?

I like the frame/scale of #1.

It is a bit dark on my screen, but I get that with a lot of pictures, so I suspect the problem is on my end.

rwboyer
10-22-2009, 11:33 AM
I'd go further than some other posters have suggested, and crop #3 (from the bottom) all the way down to a square.

Interestingly, it was #2, the one that no one else has spoken up for, that grabbed me initially. The light is a little more even than in the other two, and I think that works well---it makes it into a picture of the stairs as an object, rather than "stairs leading somewhere". On reflection, I think the composition of that one doesn't work so well, but the interaction of light and subject is a winner.

I think there's no shame in having an inexplicable subject that grabs you. For me it's doors, with the proviso that you can't see the other side---they can be closed, or slightly open, or the other side can be too dark or too light to be distinguished, but if the viewer can see beyond the door, it doesn't push my buttons. Who knows why; I just run with it and figure that my future descendants can ask themselves "What the heck was it with Great-Grandpa and doors, anyway?"

-NT

Thanks

Stairs are not an easy thing to compose as a subject. surprisingly.

RB

rwboyer
10-22-2009, 11:36 AM
I think No. 3 works best, the portrait format works better than the landscape view. I would foto it more and with different light states. But, yeh stairs are cool, not weird. Look at Brassai shot of stairs in Paris, Kertesz' Mondrian's studio, etc.

Thanks I will check those out. This scene was surprisingly high contrast, the stairs themselves were very dark in tone (the material) in very heavy shade with the sun lit areas off the charts.

RB

Rick A
10-22-2009, 05:24 PM
Definitly #3 for me. I ike the way it's formatted. Reshoot the other two vertically as well, then we can do a more subjective comparison.

Rick

rwboyer
10-22-2009, 05:26 PM
Definitly #3 for me. I ike the way it's formatted. Reshoot the other two vertically as well, then we can do a more subjective comparison.

Rick

Not to be vocabulary nazi but don't you mean objective comparison??? If not please explain.

Part of the opinion I wanted was on the framing and orientation.

Thanks

RB

Rick A
10-22-2009, 06:19 PM
Not to be vocabulary nazi but don't you mean objective comparison??? If not please explain.

Part of the opinion I wanted was on the framing and orientation.

Thanks

RB
All responses are opinion, and as such, [subject] to the viewers preferences. I really would like to see the other shots in verticle, as well as the horizontal side by side. BTW I am a huge fan of stairs, and have shot hundreds of them over the years. There are several sets of stairs where I'm at now, that I'm getting the urge to shoot. Your work looks pretty good, trust your instincts, and display what pleases you. Dont worry about what others think you should do.

Rick

rwboyer
10-22-2009, 06:26 PM
All responses are opinion, and as such, [subject] to the viewers preferences. I really would like to see the other shots in verticle, as well as the horizontal side by side. BTW I am a huge fan of stairs, and have shot hundreds of them over the years. There are several sets of stairs where I'm at now, that I'm getting the urge to shoot. Your work looks pretty good, trust your instincts, and display what pleases you. Dont worry about what others think you should do.

Rick

Thank for the input - we should compare steps sometime :)

RB

Jeff Kubach
10-22-2009, 06:33 PM
I like #3 myself.

Jeff

rwboyer
10-22-2009, 06:50 PM
APUG and you guys are great - really. No wonder I love film so much - I like the people that use it as well.

I know everyone has a subject or kind of subject that they shoot a lot of and enjoy but does everyone really have that other, more esoteric subject or theme that they are compelled to shoot. With me I shoot 99% people one way or another it is what I enjoy and what interests me. I don't do still life, I don't do landscapes (well occasionally if I happen to be there but I am not drawn or driven to do so) of the things that I shoot that are not people it is architecture and more so freaking stairs.

I wonder if everyone has that "other" subject that they are drawn to shoot but rarely show?

RB

eddie
10-22-2009, 07:05 PM
Stairs (as well as windows/doors) are metaphors for the unknown. When viewed, the question of where they go, or what's behind them, naturally arise.
When I was in college, there was a girl studying art therapy. She had to "analyze" a body of work by another student, but one she didn't know personally. She chose me. I gave her a bunch of prints and proof sheets. I had a lot of doors and windows (a few stairs, too). It was from her that I learned of the metaphor. She concluded that my work showed an obsession with "death and sex" (2 unknowns). I told her, "I hope it's not in that order. I'm only 20".