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Thursday, August 27, 2009

Forcing Perspective

Torch Bearer
© 2009 Simon Hucko

One of the unique (and sometimes frustrating) things about photography is that it forces the viewer to adopt a static perspective on a scene. Since photographs are two-dimensional, you can use this to your advantage when looking for creative photographs. I'm sure you've all seen photos where people in the foreground seem to be interacting with the background - holding up the leaning tower of Pisa, for instance. This technique is known as "forced perspective."

Aside from creating comic mementos of your vacation, forcing perspective can add interesting elements to your photographs. Take today's photo. I saw the sculpture, and noticed the recessed ceiling lights above it. Immediately I thought of trying to "light" his torch, and started squatting down and finding a perspective that would allow me to get that shot. I'm sure I looked pretty silly doing it, but you can't argue with the results. As an added bonus, the perspective matches the statue (looking up at the torch), so it lends itself well to this subject.

Remember that perspective is a very powerful part of composition. Try viewing your subject from several different angles (low, high, straight on, from an angle, sideways, from behind) and see which offers the most interesting image. That makes an interesting exercise, as well - take a picture of a subject from every angle you can imagine and compare them all afterward. How does your perception of a subject change based on perspective?


[title of blog] on flickr


  1. Definitely can't argue with the results. I TOTALLY THOUGHT HE WAS HOLDING A TORCH. I had to reread the title of this post and the first paragraph 2-3 times before it finally clicked. Dur.

  2. @Kristan - haha, thanks. Glad you like it