Brett Ferguson Photography | Is the background important?

Is the background important?

January 23, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

One of my main influences in developing "The Apple Peeler" image was an American photographer from Utah.  Regina Pagles photographed people from her town in the same environment (same table and background) but with different props and clothing to tell the story.  Her imagination is endless and she came up with often funny and sometimes quite dark images.  Since then, I believe that she has quit from her photography and sold all her equipment.  This seems to be a shame.

 My development of her concept involved using composite techniques to add a background in to assist in the story telling.  The Apple Peeler was the first in that aim of using the background to set the scene and give the viewer a very good context of the image.  This however is both difficult technically and very time consuming.  Plus if you get it wrong in Photoshop, it is possible to destroy the image completely.

As a part of an online photography and social media course, I decided to revisit this project concept and to see if there are elements of it that I could take further and to test my ability to capture a strong image without a background to "lift" the image.  The advantage is that it is theoretically less taxing in PS but it also requires a strong composition and capture to make it work.  This means that at the time of capture, my imagination must be working overtime.

One image captured as a part of this project is from a series that I am developing called "in the library".  This dress was sourced from within my family and is thought to be around 85 years old.  It does require you to be a little delicate with it....  The table doesn't feature strongly here but just a hint at the edge of the frame grounds the portrait I think.

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