As a ballroom dancer and emerging photographer, Raeley Stevenson is excited to share her combination of two passions into one photographic series. Ballroom Dance in Motion is a photographic series capturing the basics of various American style ballroom dances. Each pattern was captured using a single exposure of three to eleven seconds. The result exemplifies what so many of us admire about ballroom; the rhythm, sway, shape, character, and ultimately the motion.
Hiking with the Stevensons, Mary Lay my sister in law asked me how I took such great photos and how I knew what to look for. I told her that I look for the basic shapes and colors. If you can simplify the world around you to colors and shapes, it’s easier to identify the objects that would make a good composition. It helps to know the principles of design, but I don’t have the time to explain those to you (http://www.johnlovett.com/test.htm is a great resource).
I’ve always been amused with the colors, shapes, and organic symmetry of the forrest. However, It’s sometimes difficult to photograph. It is easy for me to look at a grouping of colorful leaves and filter out the many branches and tree trucks with my eyes, but cameras can’t always capture what we see with our eyes. With a camera, the branches and tree trunks make the image busy, drowning out the colors or shapes. A composition tool that drawing professor Neil Calendar taught me is that if you squint, you the prominent colors and shapes pop out more. Running with this idea, I decided to take blurry pictures of nature. Hopefully, blurry photographs will eliminate distracting branches and textures allowing the beloved colors and shapes of nature to become the main focus.
Here are some before and after examples.
Landscapes didn't benefit much, although the blur did make composition simpler.
Close-up shorts were cropped in enough that colorful leaves were already being emphasized by taking up most of the frame, however, the soft feel is sometimes nice.
Mid-range compositions benefitted the most. The reduction of busy detail forces us to look at the other elements - color shape and composition. Symmetry and repetition were also sometimes more visible.
Images where colors, shapes, and even lines were already very strong didn't benefit much from blurriness either. However, I still enjoy the blur.
On a symbolic level, the blurriness suggests that the details don’t matter - what matters here are the elements of composition. Compare this series to my Stevenson Trail gallery where I was focusing on shapes, light, and detail and used black and white to display an entirely different effect.
Mary Lay and Neil Calendar, thank you for the inspiration.
I do photography because I enjoy it.
So when I photograph for enjoyment, I usually have no concept or strong idea behind it. Sometimes I just want to test my skill or document a part of my life.
Sometimes I take photographs just because I'm bored.
While visiting my to-be in-laws, by to-be sister-in-law Ruth brought my mom and two sisters on a hike up the Stevenson Trail in Chattanooga. I started out just wanting to get pretty trail pictures and personality shots of everyone... Until I remembered how fun the square holga format is. So I changed my image ratio from 2:3 to 1:1 (square).
After taking 430 photos of the hike, I pulled them into Lightroom to organize and edit them. I took a ton because I had no concept or specific area that I was trying to focus on. The images you see above are ones that I selected which best document our hike.
I recommend this to all photographers. Many times we just shoot what interests us and then share all of our favorites. However, if you organize the images into different genre's or by subject matter, it's a lot easier for the viewer to connect with the work because they know what they're supposed to be looking at.
Keep in touch to see what other categories I shot in.
A portrait is a depiction of someone, weather it's description of who they are or just what they look like.When we fail to look past appearances, our view of someone can be distorted by what they look like. I decided to make portraits on the material side of the spectrum, to explore how well the objects that we own us actually describe us.
With their imagination, children can make the crudest and weakest structures into strong forts where they are safe from any monster that they fear. I have crafted this piece to help us remember what it was like to have the vivid and blunt imagination of a child. As grown ups, we may not literally create tents to hide in but we do tend to hide in other, unstable, things. Read about the creation of the photograph.