Photographic Conceptualisation: Inside the mind of a crazy person (a photographer)

We have the first written words from one of our members, a big thank you to Marc for his ramblings. What he does not know is that now, he has to follow with a serious of discussions taking concept to final image.

Even if we start with the image and take it to a final conceptual idea.

Photographic Conceptualisation: Inside the mind of a crazy person (a photographer).


I was talking to one of our club members the other day about how we take photo’s these days. We were discussing abstract photography and photographic manipulation. While I like all types of photography, the more abstract “photoshopped” ones I steer away from as they are not really my cup of tea.

That being said, during the discussion, one of these images is exactly what I thought of. I have not yet taken the pictures, but I would like to take you through my thought processes. All too often we see pictures with the camera settings, but we very seldom have a glimpse into the thought behind the image. Here we will start with the thought, we have no captured image (yet) and hopefully inspire photographic thought.

The image concept

 The image is a flood image, with references to Noah in the bible, climate change, and images from the “2012” movie.

The foreground of the image is taken up by an olive tree on dark soil. This soil fades into the background of a sand dune (Namib style dune, big). The top of the dune merges into a crashing wave coming from the back of the image and threatening to envelop the scene. There is a small amount of sky above the wave. There is a white dove (fairly small) in the foreground carrying off an olive branch.

Ok, so that is the image.

Now from the author’s perspective, the dove could mean the false information around climate change. “Look world, everything is ok”. One might even add a rainbow. The dune and the wave indicate the drying and flooding that will be experienced by climate change and the olive tree and dove have obvious connotations.

Making the image

Ok, now that we have the concept, how to get there?

1.  Find an olive orchard and photograph an olive tree from slightly high perspective. Look for one on dark soil with an expanse of soil behind to reduce processing.

Lighting from behind and left.

  1. Photograph a dune – golden orange colour

Lighting from behind and left.

  1. Photograph a large about to break wave. On the beach (protect camera), use a tripod and get a low angle (tripod legs horizontal). Work on white balance to get a blue turquoise green colour in wave.

Lighting from behind and left.

  1. Photograph and olive branch and the dove

Lighting from behind and left.

Now we have our images. We merge them in photoshop and hey presto an image appears. Well it will when I get all the images!

Lighting is incredibly important. Different lighting angles will make the image look false. This is why I emphasised it.

I know I don’t have an image to show you. So what?! The crux of photography is the image in your mind. Go out there and show us what your mind sees!

Marc Leroy

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