Friday, August 03, 2007

Photojournalism (15): Scale

“When I consider the heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained, what is man that You are mindful of him?”

Psalms 8: 3, 4

Rizal High School 1992, Batibot area; scale; photo by Atty. GalacioLong before the modern movie classic “Schindler’s List” secured Steven Spielberg’s place in cinematic glory, he directed a movie blockbuster titled “Jaws.” Starring Richard Dreyfuss, George Shaw, and Roy Scheieder, the movie told the story about how the small tourist town of Amity was terrorized by a great white shark weighing about a thousand pounds. Hmm, sounds like somebody I know!

In one exciting scene, when the shark was attacking their boat, Dreyfuss, playing the role of a scientist, screamed at Scheieder, the captain, to position himself at the edge of the boat. Scheieder, who was holding on to dear life as the shark began to chew up the boat, screamed back, “What the hell for?” And Dreyfuss, the cool analytical scientist who was holding a camera at that time, explained, “I need you for scale!”

Dreyfuss was saying, in terms of photography, that it wasn’t enough to simply take the picture of the shark. Why? Any viewer who looks at the picture will not have a clear idea as to how huge the shark was. With Scheieder in the picture, the viewer will have a visual guideline with which to estimate the size of the shark. Take the picture above of the acacia tree. By including the students seated around the tree, I was able to give the viewers an idea of how massive the tree is.

Rizal High School 1991; scale; photo by Atty. GalacioHow tall is that tree in the picture above? By including the child at the lower right hand corner, I can give the viewers an idea as to how high the tree is.

scale; photo by Atty. Galacio

Rizal High School, Main Building; scale; photo by Atty. Galacio

Rizal High School, Main Building 1992; scale; photo by Atty. Galacio

Rizal High School, Marikina River 1990; scale; photo by Atty. GalacioHow small is that kitten in the picture above? How big are the letters being painted on the roof by the worker in the second picture? How big are those stone letters spelling out “paaralan” in the third picture? How big is a river tugboat in the last picture?  

In order to give your viewers an idea of their relative sizes, you need to include certain elements (the student in the first picture, the painter in the second, the construction workers in the third, the student in the last picture) in order to help guide the viewer in judging their sizes.

How to Achieve Scale

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