Adding a sense of visual depth to art started roughly in the renaissance once artists started using concave mirrors to project images to trace and paint them. This at the same time we started seeing very realistic paintings in the art world.
I have noticed that photographs with depth in them seem to captivate the viewer over a long period of time. Keeping the viewers attention for longer that many that don’t.
It is as though there is more for the mind to wander into, whilst exploring the image. The mind is free to wander around. Going deeper into the photograph.
If I ever have the opportunity it is something I love to explore. I often even chase it. I believe this is where compositional rules such as adding foreground interest come from. By adding something in the front of the photograph we create a greater sense of depth in the artwork.
There are many ways of adding depth:
Atmospheric perspective is when we have sharper, more contrasty and warmer colours in the foreground. Whilst in the background we can let things get blurrier, less contrast and cooler colours. This is accentuated by the atmospheric conditions such as mist, heat, pollution and smog. Hence one of my loves for photographing in the mist. To accentuate this I weight the focus into the front of the photograph, sacrificing sharpness in the distance. This helps accentuate the depth in the photograph.
Linear perspective is when we use leading lines that head out to vanishing points on the horizon. These help tell the viewer that things are further away. Objects naturally appear smaller the further away they are. We can use this to create depth. A wide angle lens helps create this sense of forced perspective.
This week I want you to explore depth in your work. Intentionally play with it, and add it to your work to see if you can create a photograph that really captures the imagination of the viewer. You can use any of the methods I have described. Perhaps I have missed some that you might like to mention and try. I will include some examples for you to ponder. Aim for three photographs, to post, and discuss how much depth you are getting from the other artworks.
Text and Photographs copyright © Len Metcalf 2019