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Food For Digital Thought: Order Among Chaos

Order in chaos

I love to push my photos right up to or beyond any kind of artistic control. What that means is to make the viewer an active participant pushing him through a series of complicated photos.

Ordinarily, I like a certain sense of order by offering up well organized subject matter that leads the same viewer around my composition…well constrained by the four edges that frames my visual input into the form of a photograph.

Not everything in the world is organized and or has order, and one’s point of view can change order into chaos. In other words seemingly random subject matter, things you seem most of your life and never thought twice about them can suddenly behave chaotically.

By showing the viewer an entirely new way of seeing a subject occurring naturally in the environment, a subject he’s been accustomed to seeing one way can become unpredictable…almost to the point of becoming un-recognizable.

Showing examples to my online classes with the BPSOP, and also in my “Stretching Your frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around the planet has been an important part of the ways to keep the viewer around as long as possible; to shed new light on a subject.

My mantra is to get some dirt on your shirt or knees, look at things upside down or lie on your back and look up.

During my springtime in Portugal workshop, I decided to take the class down to a well-known area of Lisbon that was totally different than what one would expect from this enchanting city of “Seven Hills”. It was the convention area full of beautifully designed buildings.

Walking around one morning I saw off in the distance a group of flagpoles and led my fellow photographers straight to them. I stood back to see how they would all approach this somewhat common subject matter and watched as they began taking their photos.

I waited for a while to see if anyone would follow my advice and look at things not in an orderly fashion, but in a way that would shake up the viewer…so to speak.

What I started seeing was a group of people walking around trying as hard as they could to take these flagpoles and create an interesting photo with them. One that would comply with my eight second rule (I hate rules); all I saw was frustration.

I gathered my flock, put them all right smack dab in the middle of them, and had them lie down on their back and look up through their viewfinder. It must have seemed a touch strange to the people that were walking by scratching their heads!!

This innocuous group of orderly poles became a pattern of chaotic lines, and immediately had all of them mesmerized as a result.

Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and check out my workshop schedule at the top of this blog. Come shoot with me some time. This coming January Along with William Yu, I’ll be taking a group to China to photograph the flooded rice terraces and also the tribal villages. Next February in conjunction with the Santa Fe Workshops, I’ll be returning to Cuba for the fourth time. My next springtime workshop will Berlin next May; an incredibly beautiful city.


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