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  1. #1

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    Perfect circumstances

    I've been spending a lot of time looking at this relatively famous picture by photographer Joachim Brohm:

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    It's one of those photographs that makes me think "if only I'd been there". It's almost entirely circumstantial, something that was begging to be photographed, something you couldn't fail to photograph well. He was featured in the Guardian a while ago and as usual, the comments section was filled with skepticism about the art of photography. One comment remarked, about this image, that there are a million similar on Flickr. I'm guessing the viewer only saw the burning car - which, admittedly, has become a bit of a photographic cliche in recent years. But what fascinates me about the picture is that the colour relationships seem more coincidental and photographic than the fire/setting juxtaposition.

    So I wondered, would he have even made the picture had the key colours been different? Even though, in a fundamental subjective sense, everything is there (certainly for most photographers), would the picture still be as strong aesthetically? And would that matter, given the significance of the subject? I edited the picture a little to see if I could come to a conclusion:

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    The cars could have conceivably been these colours, but I'm convinced that the vehicle on fire had to be blue and there had to be a red car beside it for the picture to work - even though I can much more easily imagine stumbling across the scene as it is in my edit. It has me thinking about the 'gift' of the photographer in a much more superstitious way, as if some have a psychic connection to happenstance, willing such perfectly photographic situations into existence.

    Joel Sternfeld of course is another photographer who applies colour theory to fleeting juxtapositions.
    Last edited by batwister; 05-19-2013 at 01:49 PM. Click to view previous post history.
    'Cows are very fond of being photographed, and, unlike architecture, don't move.' - Oscar Wilde

  2. #2
    cliveh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by batwister View Post
    It has me thinking about the 'gift' of the photographer in a much more superstitious way, as if some have a psychic connection to happenstance, willing such perfectly photographic situations into existence.
    You mean a bit like Zen photography?

    “The contemplation of things as they are, without error or confusion, without substitution or imposture, is in itself a nobler thing than a whole harvest of invention”

    Francis Bacon

  3. #3

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    Also, clearly affected by the Brohm picture, I justified making this one purely for the red and blue cars.

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    'Cows are very fond of being photographed, and, unlike architecture, don't move.' - Oscar Wilde

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by cliveh View Post
    You mean a bit like Zen photography?
    Haha. The difference is they actually believe it about their own practice.
    'Cows are very fond of being photographed, and, unlike architecture, don't move.' - Oscar Wilde

  5. #5
    paul_c5x4's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by batwister View Post
    Also, clearly affected by the Brohm picture, I justified making this one purely for the red and blue cars.
    You forgot the flames

  6. #6
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    Looks to me like a rather mundane lucky happenstance of a car on fire. There's nothing in the picture that I find all that great or impactful.

    And the fact of red and blue doesn't add much to the shot either.

    However what WOULD make the shot is simply a person in the picture reacting in some way.
    I couldn't think of anything witty to say so I left this blank.

  7. #7
    cliveh's Avatar
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    For some reason the picture reminds me of the 1970 album cover "pink floyd wish you were here".

    “The contemplation of things as they are, without error or confusion, without substitution or imposture, is in itself a nobler thing than a whole harvest of invention”

    Francis Bacon

  8. #8

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    I like it. But I don't think the fact the cars are blue and red is so critically important. As for colour theory, it could be used just as well to support the altered version.

    While it may not be the greatest image, I don't think a person in the frame would help at all. In fact that would totally ruin it for me.

  9. #9
    cliveh's Avatar
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    I think to criticise any image by saying a person in the picture or not would make it better, is not really possible. It is only when you see the image from the point of capture and composition and the way it is then portrayed through printing/contrast etc., that it has any valid meaning or not. It is very easy to criticize any image, but unless you have something to compare it with, the criticism is seldom valid.

    “The contemplation of things as they are, without error or confusion, without substitution or imposture, is in itself a nobler thing than a whole harvest of invention”

    Francis Bacon

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by batwister View Post
    "if only I'd been there"
    It looks so easy - f8 and be there. But first thing what photographer who wants to have this kind of lucky moments captured is to have many kilometers in his shoes . In my case I noticed that it helps when I am not in my home town. When thinking to buy extra lens or whatever - I would always rather go to some new place, even just on weekend.

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