Sunday, September 02, 2007

Photojournalism (24): Types of pictures

Pictures can be classified in the following ways:

  1. unique images
  2. words and numbers
  3. juxtaposition
  4. point pictures
  5. sequence shots
  6. establishing shots
  7. key personalities

We have just taken up photographic composition, and one other way for you to decide how best to compose your photographs is to think about what type of picture you want.

Unique images

Unique images; Rizal High School 1992; photo by Atty. Galacio
What do bored people usually say? “Done that, been there, seen it before!” This category covers all photographs whose impact lies on their never having been seen before. I’m sure you’ve heard the song “Footprints in the Sand.” It was a number one hit on the Billboard gospel chart many, many years ago, and then it crossed over, again as number one, into the pop chart. Well, the picture above can be titled “Footprints in the Corridor.” It was about 8 AM, and I came across a group of students who were participating in a Speech Festival. They had covered their whole bodies with a chalk-like powder. To get to the venue of the competition, they had to walk though the corridor, leaving their footprints all over the place.

I hesitated shooting the footprints. I wanted to save my Kodak Tri-X film for the contest, and I wasn’t sure if those footprints had any significant value as the subject of a photograph. (I also kept thinking about Alexander Defoe and his fictional character Robinson Crusoe finding that single footstep on the beach.) I managed to shoot two frames before the janitor mopped away those footprints.

Try shooting the audience, the spectators

Unique images;photo by Atty. GalacioWho knows, you might be able to shoot an interesting spectator like this Katipunero in the picture above? Notice that he’s the only guy in the picture. You might also be able to shoot a girl, watching from the sidelines, who has too much make-up, as in the picture below.

Shoot the audience;photo by Atty. Galacio
Or you can turn the tables and try shooting the photographers covering an event as in the picture below. Here, my attention was caught by that old photographer (kneeling) on the right.

Shoot the photographers; photo by Atty. Galacio 

Words, letters, numbers

These elements may be used to attract the viewer’s attention. Always be on the lookout for announcements or ads which have humorous, grammatical errors.
In the picture below, the words written in chalk on the hollow blocks, at first glance, seem to have been the handiwork of a dyslexic individual. On a closer look, however, the letters spell out several words and names like “Guess,” “Ryan” and “Gwen.” Speaking of dyslexia, did you know MI-3 actor Tom Cruise and singer-actress Cher suffered from dyslexia?

Words, letters and numbers; photo by Atty. GalacioJuxtaposition

In juxtaposition, you combine two or more images into a single photograph in order to express an idea, emotion, or to show a certain relationship.
In the picture below, for example, I combined the images of man (the students), nature (the towering acacia tree) and a man-made object (the partially hidden backboard on the right). Symbolism? Possibly, Mother Nature reigns supreme over everything, or something of that sort …

Juxtaposition;photo by Atty. GalacioPoint pictures; fillers

Point pictures are those used by publications to illustrate certain portions of an article or used as fillers for layout purposes.
(When we discuss campus news photography, I will tell you about shooting and keeping stock pictures.) For example, the picture below of students studying can be used for a variety of articles.

Point pictures; photo by Atty. GalacioSequence shots

Sequence shots are several pictures of the same subject generally taken from the same viewpoint, showing various emotions or the progress of any action. In the first picture below, an adventurous freshman climbs up the acacia tree on a dare by his classmates. In the second picture, that freshman now faces the greatest dilemma of his young life — how to get down from that tree. Poor kid! The last time I looked, he was still up on that tree, and his classmates are already in college! Really! No kidding!

Sequence shots; photo by Atty. Galacio
Sequence shots; photo by Atty. Galacio
The pictures below are sequence shots of a senior class having their yearbook picture taken. I shot these pictures way back in 1991 with my beloved Canon AE-1 Program camera fitted with an FD f/1.8, 50 mm lens with a yellow-green filter and power winder. (This kind of filter makes black and white pictures more vibrant.)  After I shot the formal class picture, the fun began. If you mouse over each picture, the caption will appear for a few seconds.

Establishing shots

Establishing shots are usually wide angle shots that show the viewer the physical context or the setting of an event, activity or program - What is the program all about? Who are the participants? Who are the spectators? Where is the venue?

Establishing shot; Rizal High School, Batibot area,  1992; photo by Atty. Galacio
Establishing shots; photo by Atty. Galacio
Establishing shot; photo by Atty. Galacio 

Key personalities

The key personalities in any program or activity may be the lead actors, actresses, directors, the judges, etc.

Key personalities; photo by Atty. Galacio
Key personalities; photo by Atty. Galacio
Key personalities; photo by Atty. Galacio
Key personalities; photo by Atty. Galacio
Key personalities; photo by Atty. Galacio
Key personalities; photo by Atty. Galacio
Key personalities; photo by Atty. Galacio
Key personalities; photo by Atty. Galacio
Key personalities; photo by Atty. Galacio

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