Within the past year I was a member of The Arcanum, a master and apprentice style online academy. While I absolutely enjoyed the group, and participating in the program, I didn’t stay very long. I stayed in long enough to get through my first critique session with my cohort’s master, the venerable Valerie Jardin. During my critique I was reminded of several key aspects of my skill set that I could improve upon to tell a story or even a create a body of work or project.
One idea that was imparted to me was to revisit a scene repeatedly over time. Moreover, get supporting detail shots that help tell a story. The other concept, and ultimately what this post is about, is to return to a good scene. Most importantly, a good scene with a bad subject do not a good image make!
This week’s image is not particularly good. In fact, I’d say I’m continuing with my theme from my last post, another failure to capture a good image in a great scene. When I submitted this image to Valerie I was pleased with the cool wall, but was not particularly happy with the subject itself. Valerie keenly picked up on this, pointing out that the scene was good but the subject was not particularly interesting. This wasn’t news to me, but it definitely hit home and sparked a desire to “defeat” this location and make a good image there. I’ve been back a couple of times to try and find a strong subject. For me, it has to come naturally. I don’t intend to get someone to pose for me, and I want to have my subject enter my frame of their own accord.
Yesterday I went back to this scene and spent almost 2 hours within 20 yards of it. I went in close. I crossed the street. I stood in the street. I went wide left, wide right. I went dead on. I went low but I did not go high! Hmm, maybe that’s the trick? In any event, I had way more opportunities this time than the previous two visits. I shot at least 20 different subjects here and none of the images are any better than this one.
My point is, through this exercise I’ve learned a bit about how to work a scene. I’ve learned to be patient, wait for your subject to enter the frame. I’ve learned you can’t leave all of it to luck.
What I’ve realized is that I’m not done with this location.