In my previous blog post What’s the Meaning of a Photograph? I introduced Stephen Shore’s book The Nature of Photographs. This is a great book for anyone who wants to look at and understand photographs on a deeper level. If you’re a photographer, it will certainly help you develop your vision and craft.
Shore breaks The Nature of Photographs into four sections:
- The Physical Level
- The Depictive Level
- The Mental Level
- Mental Modelling.
After discussing the Physical Level of the photograph Shore goes on to explore the Depictive Level which he breaks down into flatness, frame, time and focus. In his introduction to this section Shore states “Photography is inherently an analytic discipline. Where a painter starts with a blank canvas and builds a picture, a photographer starts with the messiness of the world and selects a picture. A photographer standing before houses and streets and people and trees and artifacts of a culture imposes an order on the scene – simplifies the jumble by giving it structure. He or she imposes this order by choosing a vantage point, choosing a frame, choosing a moment of exposure, and by selecting a plane of focus.”
This is a fascinating chapter that will really help you see “photographically”. Shore guides the reader by using multiple photographs to illustrate how the elements of flatness, frame, time and focus have been used by the photographers to make lasting images. This section is worth reading several times!
Here are a few of the images discussed in this chapter.
I’ll be posting more thoughts and quotes from Stephen Shore’s book in future blog entries.
If you’re interested in reading the book you can purchase it below from my Amazon shop. I get a small percentage which goes towards my coffee fund. Thanks!