It’s A Big World

In the infinity of possible photographs of the world, our brain tries to create realistic size and context in images. Somehow, an image captured through the glass has “Big” in its nature, is big, all encompassing in the “universe in a grain of sand” mold.

Everyone has their own favorite picture takers, the seers who grab a tiny peek through the transom of what was on the other side.

People like Ansel Adams had photos like this one, where big is felt.


Ansel Adams


I love some of the big images by Andre Kertez.

Andre Kertez


And Henri Cartier-Bresson.

Henri Cartier-Bresson

They are more subtle than Adams’ sweeping western landscape hitting you over the head. For me looking at their photographs, there are no edges to the frame of the picture, you can feel the world out beyond the capture.

Other famous photographers, like this image by Jay Maisel, while they are wonderful images, feel small to me. The world is stripped away outside the frame and just that one tiny, disconnected bit is captured.

Jay Maisel

All of this goes beyond the elementary rules of composition in my opinion. Many try to impose the rules after the fact to say why such-and-such is a good photograph. The funny thing is it shows, when the photographer tries too hard to use composition in their photos. They think too much during the photograph. The forced photographs don’t sing to the viewer and are not remembered. Like everything in existence, random chance always gets the last say.

Thinking should be done before and after, not during photographing.”– Henri Cartier-Bresson

Of course it’s all luck.” – Henri Cartier-Bresson

I went to the local part to try making “big” photographs. You have to practice all kinds of things all the time with photography and everything else in life. Nobody is “a natural.”

Here is a selection of unedited jpg snaps from the outing, a sunny November day with the OMD M5 III sporting a 50mm prime lens set to Monotone, in camera yellow filter, +1 highlights, -2 shadows, +1 sharpness, +1 contrast. A couple of the kids playing basketball and the metal detector guy were ISO3200, f1.8.

Nothing special in the practicing, most were small views, a few with a hint of bigness. That’s what practice is for. It’s always fun, nevertheless, walks in the park too. Try making your own pictures big sometime.