In the End

I walked right past this shot and then realized what I saw in my minds eye so I took a couple of steps back to capture it. This women was so engrossed in her book, she never even saw me. When I later got the image on to the computer, I was incredibly surprised to find out she was actually reading a Harry Potter book. The funny part of this image is that she’s reading the back of the book. The viewer wonders whether or not she’s she’s skipped to the end, another nice surprise.

I made two captures, one horizontal and the other vertical. They both work well but the horizontal fits better with the theme of storytelling. We, as viewers, are so used to seeing our stories in a horizontal format that I wanted to try and reinforce that idea. Vertical images can tell stories too but the format lends itself more to a static image. For example, posters and book covers are mostly presented in vertical format. They are not trying to tell the story, they are inviting the viewer into the story, there’s a big difference. Of course there always exceptions to this rule but this is something that most viewers are willing to except without question.

There a couple of other things going on in the composition that I really like. First I darkened the foreground to create a separation between the viewer and the focal point. This gives the image a feeling of intimacy. Second, the pose of the reader feels like the shape of a book, she’s kind of folded in the middle and there are layers to her. I offset the balance by placing her on the left third to create some tension in the composition.

SONY, SLT-A77V, 50mm F1.4 ZA SSM
1/125, f/5.6, ISO 100

About the author

Terry Schmidbauer: