February 26, 2010

Kathryn Kolb Critques Motion Photographs

I learned a lot on Monday night during the Roswell Photographic Society's monthly critique. Kathryn Kolb pointed out positives and negatives about members' photos. Critique's theme was motion. Kathryn is a free-lance photographer living in Atlanta. She is also director of the new Serenbe Photography Center, located in Palmetto Georgia.
At the beginning of the critique Kathryn told us she would measure the images on the following:

Does it match the category (in this case motion)?
Does the image work or not?
Was it successful in communicating what the photographer intended overall?
Is this an image we've seen before?

Interesting enough there were many shots of "moving water" presented that weren't good illustrations of motion. I haven't really thought about that, but it clearly made sense during the review. The water was frozen in time, so it did not show motion. Some of the best motion shots were of a girl swinging, a swirling coke bottle, a train leaving the station and movement through a car tunnel. Kathryn said the swirling coke bottle formed a circular read on the photograph, which keeps the reader's eye in the shot longer, which made it better.

One shot that stuck out to me was a basketball "moving" outside of a picturesque barn with elements of the barn in the image. Kathryn suggested this shot worked more as fine art than as a movement shot because the ball, though blurred in motion, really served more as a design element in an image that was basically "still life."

Kathryn spoke about the weight of the subject. She explained that the item of emphasis needs more weight in the shot because the areas within a photograph have different visual "weights" and that the item of emphasis needs more weight than secondary elements in the shot. She said, "When there are equal weights we don't know what you want us to focus on." She also added that people in the photograph add emotions to shot.

Here is one of my motion images titled "Before the Game," which was not in the critique. And, certainly benefits from my new found knowledge from Kathryn Kolb.

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