A friend in front of a strange lighting effect

I took this somewhat over a week ago, at a friend’s, of another friend:

I took several versions of this shot. The above was the first and best version, once I had realised that I could crop it to include everything about the shot that mattered and remove everything that didn’t, basically by losing a chunk at the bottom of my original. I tend to resist cropping. There is something (to me) pure, even perfect, about the image exactly as it comes out of the camera, no cropping, no enhancing, no nothing. But this time it made for a definite improvement, I think.

The subject of the photo (perhaps mutual friends of her and me will recognise who it is (and also where it was taken)) put it on her Facebook page, which is very flattering.

She being an Instagrammer used only a square version, which may or may not have been an aesthetic preference. Personally, I find the patterns made on the wall by that strange planetary light fitting very intriguing, especially in a photo, which, by eliminating all context and knowledge of what is going on makes it seem all the more strange. That’s the thing about photos. All you see is the photo.

And talking of how others may recognise her, I find it intriguing how very recognisable she is, to me anyway.

In her version, she added some blue to the wall. To make it more weird and outdoorsy, and less specific? In general, I like it when people take my photos and play around with them. Again: very flattering.

She also said something about how her scrunched up shoulders revealed how stressed she had been lately. I never noticed that, neither when I photoed the photo, nor since. But one thing I do know, from speaking to my friend Bruce the Real Photographer, and being photoed by Bruce the Real Photographer, and from speaking to others who have been photoed by Bruce the Real Photographer, is that Real Photographers know all about things like that. Real Photographers, of the sort who photo people, are experts on human physiology. They know, for instance, how to make your face look different by making you move your body around. Had he been photoing this lady, he would have made her relax.

But I wasn’t doing a portrait; I was just snatching a fun shot, uninvited. Then once I had worked out how to crop it, I sent it to her, and asked could I put it here? She said yes, and also could she use it too. So all the niceties were observed, as is proper in this age of face recognition software and easily violated intellectual property rights. Whatever they are, exactly. In plainer English, both of us like this photo, and are happy for it to get around.

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog

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