Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Billboard photography.

I've always struggled at photographing cities. In part, I had been trained that I should crop out all 'unsightly' elements when planning a photographic composition. I took this somewhat severely, and would attempt to photograph streets and buildings so that they did not contain crowds of distracting people, signs of traffic, telephone poles and their mess of wires, and advertising billboards- the elements of a city that make it a city, basically.

This generally created very dull photos. More recently, I've been trying to strategically include those elements in my photographs. I think working billboards into the compositions has been most challenging. I've tried a few methods, like using the structures of billboards for visual or thematic contrast with the scene, or to give a sense of time and place to the photograph.

Halab, Syria

Hollywood, CA

Beirut, Lebanon
West Hollywood, CA

Maputo, Mozambique

Downtown Los Angeles, CA

Bulawayo, Zimbabwe

I'm attempting to included billboards in my photographs for a few reasons. In part, I'm interested in the way that art and graphics interact with our lives, and the way that advertising creates a visual intrusion into the landscape of the city. I'm also interested in the flat, graphic nature of photographs- I try to emphasize this by including flat elements in the photograph against a shallow background, like the Air Zimbabwe billboard, which merges with the building below it against the backdrop of the sky.

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