Two Pictures: Megan Lange

(This is the first post that comes from my invitation to send me two of your pictures to get my reaction.)

Megan Lange is a production intern at Mediastorm and a recent graduate from Syracuse University. She wonders if these photos would be redundant in her portfolio because both show people with hands over their eyes.

A girl covers her eyes while attending STARS (social training for youth with Autism and related syndromes) at Enable in Syracuse, NY. - © Megan LangeChildren sponsored by Every Child Ministries pray before their weekly meeting in northern Uganda, while those who are unsponsored peek through the windows. Sponsored children receive school uniforms, a daily meal, school supplies, as well as tutoring. - © Megan Lange

I’d say that in the sing-song sequencing of a portfolio, these two photos next to each other could be lovely. There is irony that comes from their similarity and their dissimilarities.

Part of what photographers can do is make connections, you see threads of life that interweave. The more complex the interweave, the more people can enjoy the interplay and the greater their potential understanding. It may be a stretch to say all this about two pictures, but I do see this level of interaction in them.

The images are so alike in structure, it’s spooky. If only the camera were parallel to the wall in the photo of the girl, to correct for parallax - the slight bowing on the wall. 

Something to be aware of in the making of the pictures: both of these photos have split frames. The line formed by the boys’ and girl’s heads split the top an bottom of the photographs and there are lines that split the middle. If this only happens in these frames, no big deal. But if you do this regularly, beware.

This is among the standard ways of building a frame that people fall into, as I’ve discussed elsewhere here. This one I call the helicopter, because the frame is split like the two blades of a helicopter. Another photographer I was working with the other day composed similarly but on an X axis. There tends to be a progression toward three-dimensional image-making from oval images to ones built from an edge of the frame to helicopter/X to whole frames. Some people inherently make full frames, but most have to grow from one stage to the next.

An exercise to create more diverse, whole approaches to composition is to build the frame from its smallest critical element outward with the expectation that every other centimeter of the frame does something - do this only after having clarity of purpose in what you're trying to convey from the scene, even if you're purely responding to what's unfolding before you.

Thank you for sending the pictures Megan. I hope this helps.

Two Pictures: Steven St. John

Send me two of your pictures