Earlier this week, it seemed that the planets were aligned to devote this week’s blog post to the subject of negative space. It was listed as one of the elements of composition in the class I’m taking, and coincidentally was this week’s topic in the Creatively Challenged group on Flickr.
Unfortunately, I am still grappling with the concept of negative space as it applies to photography.
A long time ago, probably about 10-12 years, I heard about the book Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards, bought a copy, and worked my way through about half of it. Just that half was amazing, and I’ve kept the book with the intention of working through the whole thing some day. One of the topics in the book was, you guessed it, negative space – and I totally understood the concept as it was presented there: by drawing around the subject of the picture, you drew the picture. The example given was a chair with a slatted back: you draw the floor, the walls, the space between the slats, and voila – you get a chair.
I’m not getting it with the photography, though. Most of the examples that I’ve found online are blue sky with the top of a building, or a big blank wall with a little person in the bottom corner, or… . It’s just not the same, and as much as I’ve been trying to identify my style, I know that that’s not it. I spent this past week in search of something, anything, and ended up feeling as lost as when I started.
But that didn’t keep me from posting some pictures anyway. Here are the not-really-negative-space shots I came up with.
This first one was taken looking up at a skylight in the Clark Hall breezeway:
After going through most of the week without finding much, I decided to pose a shot:
And finally, I wandered up the 161 steps to the top of the clock tower, and took this picture looking out through the clock. To do it right, I would have had to use HDR, but unfortunately I wasn’t thinking that far in advance… so I elected this shot that’s overexposed in the middle.
Any help with photographic negative space would be welcome!