Monday, March 8, 2010

Photographing statues at the Cleveland Art Museum – different angles yield vastly different images

The Cleveland Art Museum is located in the University Circle area on the east side of Cleveland. Photographers and art lovers from all over the world enjoy viewing the museum’s 40,000+ pieces of art, covering photography, painting, sculpture, jewelry, ceramics, furniture, architecture and more.

Outside the museum, a number of sculptures can be photographed with a tripod, giving photographers their best chance to get a great, detailed print. Inside the museum, tripods and monopods are not allowed.

Today’s photo suggestion is however, PLACEMENT, or in other words plan your shot and get up close. All too often, people will walk up close to inspect a sculpture and then walk back quite a distance to get the “whole” scene. In doing so, the sculpture becomes a speck in the photo that surely no one will recognize. For an example, see photo number one in the slide show below. (This photo is the one illustrating the Cleveland Art Museum in Wikipedia by photographer Stu Spivak.)

Obviously, it all depends on “what” it is that you want to portray. Are you looking to show the The Thinker’s muscles in the sculpture as shown in slide 5? If so, you better be up close to make sure those details really pop.

If you want to have a portrait of the statue only, then you need to position yourself down low, allowing the sky to fill the majority of the background instead of a competing element like the museum building itself. (See slide four.)

Maybe you were initially impressed with the scene due to the statue’s placement in from of the museum’s entrance. In that case you would want to feature the statue but still show enough of the building to give it context as in slide three.

Or perhaps, you really do want an overall view of the museum and the statue, showing detail in both. In that case you want to get as close as you can to still get detail in the sculpture and settle for as little of the building as you can to capture the overall scene you desire. In that case I would opt for the view shown in slide two. I think this is an improvement over Stu’s photo in that half the photo is not of the featureless sidewalk in the foreground.

Obviously all five photos show Rodin’s statue, but each will probably deliver a different message to the viewer. It’s your job as a photographer to decide what message it is that you want to convey, and then put yourself in the proper place to capture that image.

For the slide show, click here and scroll to the bottom of my article on

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

College Specials