Assignment 5: format experiments

I’ve been playing around with the format of joining the pairs of pictures together, as I decided that as well as not liking many of the pictures I’ve taken so far, I’m unconvinced by the format I’d started with.

To recap: I’m joining pairs of images to show two sides of a particular town or city.

Photographic ratios

I’m looking to present the images in a comparative horizontal ratio of approximately 1/3 to 2/3. My original intention was to keep the resultant overall rectangle to be a ‘normal’ photographic ratio, and the widest such ratio is 3:2. When this is divided into 1/3 and 2/3 horizontal splits, the resultant images are a tall and thin left hand portion (2×1) and a square right hand portion.

Accrington (33.8 / 66.2)

Both these ratios look distractingly odd and cramped, and for me this visually overrides the 3:2 ratio of the complete image.

I decided to set aside the intention for the overall image to be in a recognised photographic ratio and looked instead at the component parts being in standard ratios and working together to produce an overall image that would be more panoramic.


I concluded that a 2×3 left hand side and a 4×3 right hand side to produce an overall image that’s twice as wide as tall, and would visually work better than my original layout.

Accrington (33.8 / 66.2)

Communicating the split

In the mockups above the split between the left and right hand positions is signalled both in the actual visual balance between the two sides and by the numbers in the caption.

However, I felt that this doesn’t strongly enough steer the viewer to the underlying meaning of the split, namely that it represents the two responses to the EU Referendum (and in my deliberately over-simplified take on the situation, the ‘haves’ vs the ‘have nots’).

The panoramic ratio of the revised format seemed to better lend itself to showing that this is a kind of ‘chart’ with each portion representing something. I experimented with including a partial scale along the bottom of each image. Once I’d done this, it also felt right to include the town name as a photographic caption rather than a text addition separately.

Visual separation

With this new panoramic ratio, the effect of seeing the image as a whole is diminished somewhat, and it’s more evident that this is a juxtaposed pair. This should make matching pairs together a little easier, I think. As it is now more clearly a juxtaposed pair, I started wondering whether it might benefit from a tiny bit of delineation between the two parts, so I introduced a 1-pixel keyline between them.

Finally I looked at further visual separation, now that the key line acts as a kind of visual break, to emphasise the disparity between the two parts of the image. I converted the right hand side to black and white.

This wouldn’t have worked as well prior to the key line separation but seems to be effective now. Whether making the right hand side black and white is a little too heavy-handed, I’m not sure. It might be, and I might be OK with heavy-handed!

That’ll do for now. I did another shoot on Friday and am sorting images from that at the moment. Then 2-3 more trips out in the coming week, with selection and editing as I go along. I’m getting there, bit by bit.


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