Week 43: Negative Space

I have to say, I’ve been pretty stumped when thinking of photos for this theme.  Negative Space.  It’s something that I thought I had a good understanding on, but the more I thought of it, the more I think I understood it well from a design perspective, and not necessarily a photography perspective.  Not that I’m sure it matters, or that there are even necessarily multiple perspectives, but I’ve just been having a hard time.

When I think of “negative space” I think of the interesting element of the image being the black space or shadow in the image, not an actual object or person.  But go ahead, google this term, and you’ll see a plethora of examples, particularly when you search more specifically for photography.  There are colors, and textures, and interesting objects, and all of these things that I thought you couldn’t have when working with an image focused on negative space.  There are maybe two examples I have stumbled across where I’m thinking to myself “ok, now that’s definitely negative space!”  I’ve also stumbled across a whole section that was labeled as “bad”, so I guess I was a little relieved when all of the images which I thought were confusingly labeled as negative space were in that section, but still, confused.

So I did a little more searching, and a little more looking, and a lot more doubting, and in the end, I’ve simply decided to share these images with you.

I just finished up editing some photos that I recently took as a collaborative project between my “studio lighting” class, and a class in the Fibers Department at MICA.  Each of us in the class were given a “fibers partner”with whom we had to work, and create images featuring a garment which they created.  We had to discuss visions, ideas, set-ups, everything, and create interesting images while keeping the “client’s” intentions in mind.  An interesting exercise, but nerve-racking at the thought of being paired with someone who is vastly different in style.  I truly had the luck of the draw with this group project — things haven’t always worked out that way this semester.  Happily, I was able to work with someone I already knew, and whose work I knew I liked.

As she told me a little more about her work, I became more interested.  I also became even more at ease with this whole process because she was very open to letting me have control over the entire photographic process.  That has its pros and cons, because when doing things like this I really do like to try to achieve a certain look based of off what the person I’m photographing is looking for.  Either way, we were essentially along the same lines — nothing looking like magazine fashion photography, simple black background, and she was open to my idea of playing with some dramatic lighting.

It’s because of that lighting that I’m talking to you about these images!  Well, I most likely would have shared them in one way or another because I’m really happy about how they turned out.  But because of my plight in thinking of something for this negative space theme, I started looking for more examples, and stumbled across some portrait “negative space” work.  Honestly, it reminded me a lot of the Low-Key theme I did a couple of weeks ago, which makes me wonder if I’m misinterpreting something else.  Either way, I’m happy to use these images for this week, because I could see how they would fit in.

So, dramatic lighting.  We did one set up with a low intensity softbox, and then another with a spotlight style snoot.  The softbox (with a gold reflector, which is my new favorite photo tool) really made her glow against the black background.  I think it gave for some interesting tensions between her and a ground/background which is really indistinguishable.  The snoot gave a whole other look.  It darkened some of her features so much in some images that it really gave the portraits a more abstracted feel, which I was happy to see.  So after a fun experience with a cross-departmental group project, and a good critique, here are my dark and dreamy images.  Enjoy!

 

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