Eyes Down - tyneholm
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Eyes Down

Eyes Down

Assignment S48

It is often said that we don’t look up enough when we’re out and about shooting. The same can be said for not looking down and, believe it or not, there’s so much to be seen and photographed on the floor. Plenty of street photographers have created substantial projects based on what they have seen by their feet-and some of them are stunning (try Googling phrases like “discarded” and “lost and found” and you’ll see what I mean). 

However, rather than photographing anything and everything, narrow your subject matter down into a focused assignment. A broad collection of litter isn’t going to interest anyone, but a small, curated collection of one of the following examples may just hit the spot: 

  • Discarded clothing
  • Bottles or cans
  • Bits of broken car bodywork
  • Food 
  • Leaves or petals
  • Things in unusual or unexpected places
  • Anything forming a distinct shape, pattern, or color palette

These are, of course, just a few examples to give you a flavor of the breadth of material out there. Think about what you see regularly-or perhaps what interests you-and base your assignment around that. This assignment is unlikely to produce quick results and you should see it as a “slow burn” project that will take many months or even years to complete. Always have in your mind the sort of material you’re looking for and it will, over time, be there for you. 

View the images

Technique

  • You probably won’t need much depth-of-field so use a medium aperture of around f/5.6 and shutter speed of 1 /250 sec., as you’ll be shooting from some awkward angles and need to minimize camera shake. 
  • Avoid getting your feet in shot! 

Field Notes

  • Your assignment could be interpreted in a very direct, literal sense, or it could be more abstract. Do whatever works for you! 
  • Don’t rush it! You’re unlikely to find sufficiently interesting material in a week or even a month.