Exercise: Spaces

It's strange how I get blocked in my studies just because of having to do one simple exercise or write a blog about a movie that I watched. I know there's a lot I'd like to say or show, but I just can't get myself to sit down and write or just grab the camera and shoot. Even though this exercise is really not that difficult, I experienced the same again. But never mind, here are some images!

The idea is to create four different spaces that have a certain atmosphere and reflect on the elements that define the atmosphere and whether I succeeded in creating it or not. I decided to take images of different spaces in my house instead of restyling the same room all the time. When looking for atmosphere, I notice that there are a few factors that I find important. I'll describe it with the pictures below.

1. An oppressed, cluttered space.
Thinking about what this would mean, I immediately thought of a dark, small room with lots of items lying around. What does oppressed mean? I think it's the feeling that you can't breath and want to get out. There are quite a lot of cluttered spaces in my house, but I found the cabinet under the stairs the most oppressed, since the ceiling is very low, it's dark and kind of claustrophobic.

When I look at the images I find that the angle from which the images are taken and the empty spaces in the top and bottom of the frame really work towards the feeling of oppressiveness. I wonder if I had shown the ceiling as well, the effect would have been stronger. I already see a difference in the image where the low light is visible, suggesting a very low ceiling. I used a flash when taking the photographs. Because of that, there is not a sense of depth or shadows in the images, which don't help either. In the last two images I zoomed in on a few items to see if that made it more oppressed or cluttered. I don't think so. I think it's better to show more and create the atmosphere through the relationship of the room, the light and items, than zoom in on one specific thing.

2. An open, honest, simple space containing one intriguing item.

When I think of open, honest and simple I think of a room that is almost empty, has a friendly atmosphere and has a clear function. For this image I choose our hallway and the fussbal table as the intriguing item. Here are the images that I shot.

I had already taken the paintings off the wall to make sure that the space was simple and not distracting. I did find that from the angle towards the windows the bars in front of the window were very distracting and complicating the scene. So I turned towards the other wall, to make the windows work towards the door. Still, with the angle from eye height and not showing the corridor, I found the scene still to closed, so I lowered my angle and made sure that the part of the corridor on the side was visible, to create a sense of openness. I found that the fussbal table needed to be a bit smaller in the scene, so I took a step back and placed it more on the line of thirds to make it more intriguing. In conclusion, I find the room open and honest, but I'm not sure if the fussbal table is intriguing enough. Maybe if it had been a smaller object on the floor, or on a table with a spotlight on it, it would have looked a bit strange in the scene. Now the lines of the table are to much parallel to the lines of the wall, not giving it enough visual contrast and interest.

A stark, empty hostile space

When I think of stark and hostile, it automatically gives me the notion that it should be empty, without any natural materials, signs of personality, coziness, lots of metal and dark light. In my house I though the staircase would be a good space to create that atmosphere. But also in taking these images, I realise that the angle from which the scene is shown has a big influence on the feel of the image and the scene. I wanted to make sure to show the metal elements of the staircase, because that gives me the feeling of cold, stark and unwelcoming. I think the final image gives the best impression, since it's the darkest, shows a shadow of the railing and show the bars the best. 

4. A warm, friendly, cosy space 

A warm, friendly and cosy space should show elements of human interest, relaxation, nature and beauty. The living room seemed like the best place to show that. Again, there are a few shots with different angles. In this case, I find that the image that zooms in on the chair, the pillow and the books gives the best atmosphere. In this case, it doesn't have to be open, there just have to be elements that remind you of good times, relaxing and coziness. 

I learned from this exercise that when filming a certain scene, the objects, angle and lens really play a deciding factor in defining the atmosphere. I am more aware of the importance of knowing exactly where to place the camera before shooting and thinking ahead of what atmosphere should be created and whether the interior conflicts with that or not.