In this exercise we are asked to find and photograph a series of real and implied triangles. The first shoot I undertook with this objective in mind was in Bristol. I was accompanying a group of A Level photography students on a photographic day out and, when not helping the students, looked for subjects that would fulfil the exercise. I cannot remember ever taking photos in such awful weather, torrential rain, dark skies, and cold winds. As a result the day also became an exercise in low light photography.
Fig 1 is the first of my real triangles. We found a collection of abandoned railway trucks in the old dock area. They were old, notice the War Department stamp on this truck, and were in varying states of decay. I am always drawn to the way nature relentlessly attacks and eventually destroys everything that humans make so these trucks made a great subject. There are several strong triangles formed by the structure of this particular tanker.
An alternative triangle is included in fig.2. I wanted to capture the tourist between the two verticals but mistimed the shot. The main triangle is obviously the central frame but there are several incomplete triangles formed by the various parts of the bike.
Switching to the other side of the Atlantic fig. 3 is a zoned but unbuilt marina in the Turks and Caicos islands (TCI). I captured this huge triangle but am still unsure as to whether it is a real triangle (the marina basin is rectangular and only appears triangular when viewed from this angle) or an implied triangle with converging lines towards the bottom of the frame so I will include it in both or either category.
Staying in TCI for a moment I liked this shot (fig 4) of a broken shutter taken from inside an abandoned mansion at Taylor’s Bay. It is arguably an inverse photograph as the triangle is formed by the absence of the shutter.
Figs 5 and 6 are further triangles that I liked in Turks and Caicos. I enjoy the strong contrast between sky and architecture and in the case of the church the local television transmission mast made a great combination with the Faith Tabernacle Church of God.
Returning to the old docks in Bristol and the rain. The old dock cranes have been left in place as part of City’s industrial history and judging by Flickr are popular photographic subjects.
There are at least three implied triangles in fig. 7. They all converge towards the centre of the frame.
The largest triangle neatly frames the reflection of the crane in the large puddle.
In this image many lines converge at the base of the crane. The triangles lend structure to the, otherwise empty, space in the foreground and act as lead lines to the crane and the ship along-side it.
I decided to crop this quite narrowly as the area to the right was dead space, I normally try to keep within 3:2 proportions and avoid non-standard frames as I feel this is a weak solution to correct initial poor framing. However, in this instance, where the photograph will only be displayed here on-line I think it was justified.
Fig 9 is a view of the open plaza on the City side of the river in Bristol.
There is a large implied triangle defined by the railings to the right and the line of lamps to the left. A colour change in the paving forms the base of the triangle.
Harder to draw onto the picture but easily seen there is a much larger triangular shape formed by the houses to the right and either the line of lamps to the left or even the paving slabs further left. As a result the whole image has a triangular feel.
The student photographing a statue in fig. 11 created an implied triangle with the apex at the base.
Fig 12 was as near as I could get to finding an inverted triangle that converges towards the bottom of the frame. I was looking for a long shopping centre corridor or two lines of street lights but did not see any.
So, for the record, this uninspiring photo of the inside of a shopping mall is one one way of photographing this effect.
Fig 14 and fig 15 below are my still life with triangles. I had a few tries arranging items on the beach but in the end decided to look for things that had been washed up as implied triangles. Of course any three items form a triangle unless they are placed in a straight line so, for the purposes of this exercise I looked for three items that formed something near to a equilateral triangle.
In doing this I remembered a quotation by Fredrick Sommer that is reproduced in Michael Freeman’s Photographer’s Eye*, apparently Sommer had been asked whether he had arranged the subjects in a photograph and, in essence he replied that things we come across are arranged in more complex patterns than we could arrange. He closes his remark with “The forces in nature are constantly at work for us.” I chose to let the forces of nature arrange my still life images.
The final part of this exercise is to arrange people into a triangle. Fig 12 is using a general triangular shape to arrange two children and their grandmother.
As an alternative Fig 17 is a candid shot on a beach in TCI where the three boys form a neat triangle.
*Freeman, Michael (2007), The Photographer’s Eye. Lewes, The Ilex Press.