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Photography and Graphic Arts  
 
Photography
  Photography

Photographs are amazing. Through photographs, we preserve history - our child's first steps, a decaying landscape, or rare and endangered animals. We use photographs to recall the first steps on the moon, the inauguration of a new president, the lifting of a flag on a far-away hill during war. Mothers laboriously decorate large scrapbooks just to protect their precious memories. Photographs evoke the essence of places we have not been, we perhaps will not return to, and should never forget.

With a photograph, I can bring someone from his or her spot on the globe to mine. They can stand with me in the midst of a pine forest or walk in hushed silence through the musky light of a swamp. In reverse, through the
 
images of others, I have walked across hot, sandy deserts; I have stood on immense mountaintops, and pushed my way through steamy rainforests. Photographs have introduced me to families, mothers and fathers I have never met, and told the story of lives intertwined forever. In short, photographs are very important.

Photographs "become" through making choices, and great photographs become through making right choices. Right choices are the direct result of the knowledge of the photographer. Great photographs are NOT, however, strictly the result of owning fancy equipment. Anyone using most any camera can take an incredible photograph.

Landscape Photography

Landscape photography is a genre intended to show different spaces within the world, sometimes vast and unending, but other times microscopic. This popular style of photography is practiced by professionals and amateurs alike. Photographs typically capture the presence of nature and are often free of man-made obstructions. Landscape photographers usually attempt to convey an appreciation of the world.

Many landscape photographers show little or no human activity in their photos, striving to attain pure, unsullied landscapes that are devoid of human influence, using instead subjects such as strongly defined landforms, weather, and ambient light. Despite this, there is no pure or absolute definition of what makes a landscape in photography, as such it has become very broad term, encompassing urban, industrial, macro and nature photography. A beach full of parasols and sunbathers can be a landscape photo, but so can the view through an electron microscope, which shows a different type of landscape. Waterfalls and mountains are especially popular in classic landscape photography, often calling for Large Format cameras and neutral density or polarizing filters. Though many photographs are inspired by traditional landscape painting, the term in photography broader; most places and things can be photographed as a landscape, a kitchen, a lamp, a wall, or even the human body can be turned into a rolling vista by a skilled photographer.

Still photography

Still life photography is the depiction of inanimate subjects or a group of objects which are either natural or man-made, via the means of a photograph.

It is a highly appreciated art form, wherein each photographer has a certain style. The idea is to convey a 'story' with the means of a photograph. Still life photographers always experiment with different compositions and the play of light and shadow over the objects of their composition.

Composition

The first thing to consider while shooting still life photographs is the object or objects that you are going to capture in your picture. The idea is to let the photograph tell its own story. The picture has to communicate with the viewer on a very subtle yet sensory level. It has to appeal to the different sensibilities of the viewer.

Therefore the object(s) which are used in the picture need to be arranged in a certain fashion. This is called the composition of the photograph. Still life photographers often experiment with different groups of objects and arrange and re-arrange them several times to get the right composition so as to convey their ‘story’ effectively.

Background

The second thing to consider is the background on which the objects are being kept. That too becomes part of the ‘story’ being told by the photographer. They add to the picture by providing a contrast to the collection of objects in the photograph.

Different backgrounds create different effects of light and dark. Cloth will have folds while paper will have creases and so on. This has to gel with the composition that the photographer has in mind. Still life photographers use black velvet cloth to absorb the light so that they do not get unwanted reflections and bright spots in the picture.

Lighting

This is the third aspect of still life photography which is as equally important as the first two. After all, these photographs use the play of light and shadow effectively to convey the ‘story’ of the picture.

Still life photographers use natural light as far as possible because natural light gives a special glow and effect to the composition. Ideally, they place the composition near a window or a light source. If they are shooting in nature, they even experiment with different types of light. For example the kind of light one has just before it rains.

Still life photographers also use different types of exposures with their cameras to achieve different results.

They often also use a sheet of white paper on the side opposite to the light source to reflect some light into the shadowed areas.
 
 
     
 
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