Extreme Negative Space

jhob

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I've been experimenting with extreme negative space recently, mostly using the sky as that negative space.

Just wondering what you make of these images as it's the first time that I have intentionally played around with this concept.

Does anyone else have examples of their work using extreme negative space that they would like to share? I'm interested in seeing other interpretations of this concept.

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plus a few more in my gallery
 

Djarum

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I'm going to be honest. These are JMO and take them with a grain of salt(or in this case, snow)


1. Doesn't work
2. Its ok, and a little less negative space I think it could work better
3. Doesn't work.
4. Best of the bunch but could have a little less negative space
 

G1 User

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#4 works
why?
it uses the rule of 1/3rds best, the subject is larger, and as a whole, it is better balanced.

For "Negative Space" to work, the general composition rules apply.
That's why #4 works out of the bunch.

Keep trying it out, it is bit more difficult, but can be skill worth having.
 

linkedit

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I think that #3 has the most potential and would look nicer if your had brought the lampost a little larger in to the frame and there was something more going on in the clouds. As is it looks kind of boring.Aactually the same goes for #2.

As for #4, I think I would like it if there was a little more detail in the snow, not just blown out white - though it could be my laptop.
 

pdh

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I like them all jhob ... have a look at my PAD blog and you'll see why!
 

jhob

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I don't think I made myself very clear in my original post, what I really meant was extreme negative space - where there are large parts of the frame that are blank, or almost blank. I'm aware that, particularly the first three images, break most of the 'rules', hence why I ask on here. I know images such as these can work.

Of those that I posted I feel that the first two have a lot of winter bleakness to them, and the fourth is quite a pleasing composition. I agree it could do with more detail in the snow, there is some but not as much as I might have liked.

I think that the third image is the weakest of the set although I do like the lostness that you could feel for the gull.

I like that the first three are intentionally not grounded, the first two in particular I think can be hard to work out at a glance.
 

Luke

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I like the 3rd and fourth. Here's one of my favorites on the theme of extreme negative space. (sorry it's not m4/3)
<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lukinosity/4841440370/" title="friends till the end by Lukinosity, on Flickr">
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"640" height="480" alt="friends till the end" /></a>
I tried cropping it to follow the rule of thirds and it didn't look as good.
 

jhob

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I really like that a lot Luke - that's exactly the sort of image I am talking about.

The rules are worth knowing, but only so that you can consciously know when you're breaking them
 

Djarum

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I think negative space can work under certain conditions.

a) The negative space in and of itself has some interest. Clouds in the sky or an interesting geometric pattern, for example.

b) The negative space compliments the subject

c) The subject within the composition is really interesting.

The first one to me doesn't meet any of this criteria.

The second has some potential in that a and b are met.

The third one I think could have had the most potential if there was more of the lamp post.

The last one I felt for the most part all three were met, except that the snow I think could have had a little more interest if it wasn't as blow out.
 

phrenic

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I liked #2 and 4 the best.

#1 was a bit too much imo, and the lamppost I found distracting as it leads out of the frame.
 

dsteady

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I really like that a lot Luke - that's exactly the sort of image I am talking about.

The rules are worth knowing, but only so that you can consciously know when you're breaking them
John,
I like your pics and agree with your point regarding rule of thirds. Have you looked at Wm. Eggleston's images? He often made interesting use of negative/unusual space (ceilings, for instance) and he frequently ignored the rule of thirds.

I actually find the lamp post image to be one of the most compelling in your series.

daniel
 

Stephen Geis

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Funny this thread should start today. This afternoon I noticed the late day light striking some objects on my desk (documents, cell phone, laptop) on my desk and making (what I thought to be) interesting negative space images. While not technically "extreme", I'm posting them here for C&C ...

All taken with GF1 and Nikon 50mm 1.4 lens set at 2.8

<table style="width:auto;"><tr><td><a href="http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/Z0_l8Euu6z1EQr-pcx5AQw?feat=embedwebsite">http://lh4.ggpht.com/_8rsKLcUXdBs/TPbE0IKNtfI/AAAAAAAACqg/GlKcGQwxpgw/s640/P1120855.JPG" height="428" width="640" /></a></td></tr><tr><td style="font-family:arial,sans-serif; font-size:11px; text-align:right">From <a href="http://picasaweb.google.com/StephenAGeis/NegativeSpace?feat=embedwebsite">Negative Space</a></td></tr></table>

<table style="width:auto;"><tr><td><a href="http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/1Xp9JnJG-_40ATjUffI7rA?feat=embedwebsite">[img]http://lh5.ggpht.com/_8rsKLcUXdBs/TPbE7WepjZI/AAAAAAAACqo/QSudsJbpTeE/s640/P1120858.JPG" height="428" width="640" /></a></td></tr><tr><td style="font-family:arial,sans-serif; font-size:11px; text-align:right">From <a href="http://picasaweb.google.com/StephenAGeis/NegativeSpace?feat=embedwebsite">Negative Space</a></td></tr></table>


<table style="width:auto;"><tr><td><a href="http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/udkFu_Sm3jGYIPaEsd88Hg?feat=embedwebsite">[img]http://lh3.ggpht.com/_8rsKLcUXdBs/TPbFCUfvtsI/AAAAAAAACqs/Y3Ln4AGtD1Y/s640/P1120861.JPG" height="640" width="428" /></a></td></tr><tr><td style="font-family:arial,sans-serif; font-size:11px; text-align:right">From <a href="http://picasaweb.google.com/StephenAGeis/NegativeSpace?feat=embedwebsite">Negative Space</a></td></tr></table>

<table style="width:auto;"><tr><td><a href="http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/05rwpcnyOCRIwZ68LnpS1Q?feat=embedwebsite">[img]http://lh4.ggpht.com/_8rsKLcUXdBs/TPbFGDvt_iI/AAAAAAAACqw/JVLM83n-EbE/s640/P1120862.JPG" height="428" width="640" /></a></td></tr><tr><td style="font-family:arial,sans-serif; font-size:11px; text-align:right">From <a href="http://picasaweb.google.com/StephenAGeis/NegativeSpace?feat=embedwebsite">Negative Space</a></td></tr></table>

<table style="width:auto;"><tr><td><a href="http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/QfZeYskBmT-2BSHMaSq33g?feat=embedwebsite">[img]http://lh3.ggpht.com/_8rsKLcUXdBs/TPbFJdirynI/AAAAAAAACq0/8E2oGsJUZbo/s640/P1120863.JPG" height="428" width="640" /></a></td></tr><tr><td style="font-family:arial,sans-serif; font-size:11px; text-align:right">From <a href="http://picasaweb.google.com/StephenAGeis/NegativeSpace?feat=embedwebsite">Negative Space</a></td></tr></table>

Appreciate feedback

Stephen
 

Narnian

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It is always difficult to use negative space. In most of my photographs it is simply boring. For example here is a picture I took a couple of weeks ago down by the lake.

It is a rather blah, run of the mill picture of a gull against a solid blue sky. A yawner.
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I almost deleted it but then I thought it would be interesting to see if I can salvage it in Lightroom.

Add a little vignetting and make it look a little older and I think the negative space becomes more interesting.

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Or just mess with the sky color to make it look like a very threatening sky.

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And lastly I converted it to black and white - and darkened the sky completely.

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Again, none of them are great shots, but any one is an improvement over the original.
 

Luke

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just personal taste....I like the first gull shot best. The black sky one has POP (it might even be my favorite this moment), but I couldn't take a steady diet of it.
 

Streetshooter

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Maybe I just see things different. Images are about INTENT. Regardless of the success of the image or not. So, what I see in John's attempts. is....

Being that he intentionally made Extreme Negative Space using the sky for it and putting an object in somewhere to make the statement,

I see the sky not as negative space at all but the subject of the image.
His intent is clear. The tree, lamp etc could be seen as the Negative Space. He just inserted something to create contrast to the implied negative space.

In the above examples, the one with the dogs and the sky.
It is easy to see the dogs as the subject surrounded by the sky and that makes the sky, negative space.

In images, negative space is usually used to create visual tension. It does not have to be a large area but could be.

I hope that I'm not being misunderstood. In a portrait , the subject would be seen as the intent, or and I hate to do it this way....positive space....hate saying that...
the background, even a building etc... would be the negative space.
 

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