The Arcanum: Before and After Part 2

There is a distinction in photography that my husband likes to make--it is the difference between taking a memory and taking a photo. Of course what he is really talking about is Intentional Composition. As a traveler I often walk into a new location and have a jaw-dropping moment of awe.  As a tourist my instinct is to start taking photos. But as a photographer my first reaction can't be "Oh--take this photo," because in reality that photo won't have the same jaw-dropping impact I had when I arrived there.  The best example I have of this is a pair of photos featuring Piazza del Duomo in Milan. This is the central piazza in Milan and a hotbed of activity. The Piazza itself features a magnificent Gothic Cathedral.

Piazza del Duomo, Before (August 2013)


In this initial photo I was taken by two things--the grand nature of the cathedral and the fact that they had a women's shoe advertisement attached to the side of it. But you will notice that nothing else in this photo is intentional. There are partial cars, partial people, and generally a ton of clutter. 

Piazza del Duomo, After (March 2015)

I promise you this after photo wasn't staged with a troop of dancers and onlookers at my beckon call.  The piazza is often filled with performers vying for attention from tourists.  Now pre-Arcanum me would have walked into the piazza and taken this photo two ways. One photo would be me standing up pointing in the general direction of the dancers. Then I would have pivoted and taken the cathedral shot.  Instead, I took the time to intentionally compose the photo.  I walked around until I realized that that area behind the dancers would be good for photos and provide the backdrop of the Duomo that I wanted.  And I remembered that perspective lesson from before and sat down on the ground to get this shot. That put me at eye-level with the dancer as his did his ground work. It made the difference between a tourist photo and a travel photo with impact. It's another big transformation my foundation sphere experience in The Arcanum.