SHOOTING SCULPTURE – finding an angle aint easy

A slippery slope…Sculpture by the Sea, Sydney 2012.

Photographing sculpture ought to be a pushover. Someone else has already done the hard work and, if they’ve done it well, we amateurs just need to point and shoot to get a satisfying result.

Anybody can do that, and millions of us do. The hard thing is to find an original angle.

You can take your time to think about it. Sculpture sits patiently while you adjust your camera settings, consider the background and wait for the sun to come out.

‘Too stiff, darling. I’m not taking the photo till you relax and look more natural.’

After I posted my blog entry about Sydney’s wonderful Sculpture by the Sea this week, photographer Gary Hayes sent me a link to his take on the event.

Photo Gary Hayes – Sculpture by The Sea 2012.

Gary obviously knows far more about taking photos and processing them afterwards than I do.

Gary Hayes’ photo of Alex Ritchie’s Kaleidoscope Cube.

His shots are severely photoshopped, and whether you like the ‘artificial’, painted result is naturally a matter of taste. What impressed me was not just his technical expertise, but his ability to find something different to draw our attention to in each of the sculptures he captured.

By manipulating colours and ramping up the contrast in ways mysterious to me, he highlights the textures of his subjects and makes great use of the sky and cloud formations.

Here again is the link to Gary’s Flickr Photostream.

Picking a small part of a larger work to focus on may seem a little unfair to the artist, though sculptors who place their art in public spaces are inviting passers-by to use them however they will. Despite the ‘Do Not Touch’ signs, most artists must enjoy seeing people interacting with their creations, each in their own special ways.

Rachel Cooper and Ivana Kuzmanovska’s Mirador

Part of this interaction is that we can use their art as a springboard for creating art of our own. I prefer in my shots to show humans and art together. When people politely pause to avoid walking into my frame, I usually tell them to carry on walking. It makes the shot more lively.

Gillie and Marc Schattner – The travellers have arrived (and the paparazzi too).

The uncredited sculptures pictured above are (from top) Steinunn Thoranisdottir – Trace, sphere, gate, James Rogers – Salacia, Ruth Downes and Geoff Webster – Casting Around


Filed under Art, travel photography

8 responses to “SHOOTING SCULPTURE – finding an angle aint easy

  1. Ah Richard, Inspired by your earlier post Euan and I got up and went to Bronte before 6 this morning. Truly wonderful. Thanks for drawing our attention to it. Sunrise pretty special!

  2. I prefer photos that haven’t been fiddled with, but I like his composition.

    • Yes, I like the way he incorporates the textures of the sky, rocks and waves around the sculptures. Lots of natural-looking photos we admire probably have been fiddled with too, but Mr Hayes makes a feature of it.

  3. Laurens M. Hoogenboom

    A wonderful project. I presume you can make thousands of beautiful pictures up there!!!!!

    • There will be about 500,000 people during the next fortnight, most with cameras or phones with holes in the back, so out of all those shots there may be a few good ones, Laurens. I’ll go back and try again too.

  4. The sculpture in that last photo has a friend in Paddington I’m sure…the bus stop before fiveways on the way in to the city..

  5. Great shots! I think Gary’s pics are HDR – which stands for… errr… High Definition Resolution ? Maybe? Whatever effect it is, it’s gorgeous!

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