Why is form important?
Because a photograph is actually just a 2 dimensional representation of a 3 dimensional world, without this missing dimension everything lacks volume and is reduced to just a collection of 2 dimensional shapes, so when the form of an object is important, the skill lies with the ability to somehow re-inject this missing dimension back into the image.
Luckily for us though, the brain has an innate ability to interpret light and shade in terms of depth, and can therefore easily replace the missing binocular depth information from the eyes with a pseudo version of its own.
Form is therefore a function of light, it is created by the position of the subject relative to the light source and the camera, and clever use of this can produce images that are very realistic.
Some examples illustrating the technique
Tips for when on location
- Black and white images accentuate form, the lack of colour information prevents the viewer from being distracted, left instead to concentrate on the light and shadows.
- Conveying form is a challenge, so take care with the lighting of the subject, and think about the angle from which the subject is being shot.
- The subject’s relationship with other objects in the composition can greatly reinforce a sense of depth..
© Andrew James Kirkwood – 2017