Exercise 2.3

The Task

Choose a subject in front of a background with depth.  Select your shortest focal length and take a close low viewpoint, below your subject.  Find a natural point of focus and take the shot.

You’ll see that a very wide lens together with a close viewpoint creates extreme perspective distortion.  Gently receding lines become extreme diagonals and round forms bulge towards the camera.  Space appears to expand.  The low view point adds to a sense of monumentality, making the subject seem larger than it is, and tilting the camera adds to the effect as vertical lines dramatically converge.  Not the idea combination for a portrait shot!


Certainly Beryl appears larger in this photo than in the previous photos although I’m sure she wouldn’t want to think she was bulging towards the camera!  However one can certainly see how the lines are distorted as if they are merging together on the road and the gap between the houses appears much narrower than it actually is.

Ingledew (2013: 188-190) discusses the various lenses in common use and the focal lengths of each and how the differing focal lengths will produce different images of the same scene.  On p.189 he refers to Bill Brandt’s work and how his placement of nude models created maximum distortion – there is an example on this page.


Ingledew, J. (2013).  Photography.  London: Laurence King Publishing.


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