The beauty of restriction

Diana Montes , Contributor

Ella on the roof surrounded by different shades of brown.
Shades of blue penetrating the clouds outside an airplane window.
Flashing Lights at a Bruno Mars Concert
Nino relaxing on a leather chair

Before starting this module, I was never interested in photography the way my friends were. Although my insecurities when taking pictures of myself did play a role in my doubtfulness towards photography, I genuinely believed I wasn’t able to take nice pictures of anything. This was the mindset I had coming into the first couple of weeks of this module, but as time went on, I began to let go of the doubts I had about myself. Throughout the coming weeks, I was able to put more thought into the way I took my photos. I played with lighting, color pallets, poses, and facial expressions in ways that I didn’t know existed, and even went as far as taking photos of myself without being too self-critical. Once we were able to come up with our own personal themes, I was confident that I could display emotions through my photographs. Not only was I more confident in taking photos of myself and others, but I was able to incorporate my love for painting when creating my personal theme: monochromatic. 

As a painter, I was familiar with the idea of using the variation in shade ranges to my advantage. It was less about the ability to use as many colors as possible, and more about how the artist can express the same feelings and emotions with only using one single color. As big as the restriction may seem, a lot can be achieved when the distractions of multiple different colors is removed and you’re left with an infinite shade range. With this idea in mind, I thought about how interesting it would be to incorporate the photography skills I had learned throughout this quarter with the idea of monochromatic. 

For my first two pictures, I wanted to focus on the colors blue and brown. The first was a picture I had taken while on a plane back to New York. The various shades of blue were calm and serene which was a great feeling I wanted to convey in a photo. The second was a picture of a peer on the roof. Her outfit matched perfectly with the surrounding shades of brown, creating a sense of togetherness that I thought was hard to miss. The next two focused on darker colors. One was a picture of my cat blending into the leather chair he was lying on. Instead of focusing on black and white to portray my monochrome theme, I relied on the matching colors and lighting to convey my theme. Lastly, my final photo was a picture I took at a Bruno Mars concert. The lights flashed different shades of red, making the entire venue surrounded with many shades of the flashy color.

In reality, I did not expect to grow as much as I thought I would throughout the duration of this module. By no means am I now fully confident when taking pictures of myself and others, but the doubt that I had come in with has now gone, or at least lessened as time went on. I now realize how much work actually goes into photography besides just taking a picture. There are so many things that a photographer needs to consider when wanting to take a picture: what type of message of feeling I want to convey? How can color help deliver my message? Would a candid photo or staged one work best with my idea? I had never realized how hard these questions were to answer, nor did I realize how hard it would be to create an artist statement. Nonetheless, I’m glad I was able to learn about how fun it is to take pictures and will definitely continue to improve my photography skills.