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Photos That Lie
by Jim McGee

"It's easy to take pictures when you're on vacation but I can never find anything to shoot when I'm at home."

That simple statement in a reader's email started me thinking about the simple art of "seeing" and how with some creative framing photographers can create their own reality out of the everyday world around them.  

It's kind of simple really, you just need to open yourself up to seeing parts of a scene. Or to looking beyond what's in front of you, and at what's behind the everyday facades that we all drive by in our busy world.  

Here are some simple examples, all shot within a few minutes of my house in the "unphotogenic" suburbs.  

To see what the scene "really" looks like move your mouse over the photo and watch it change.

The bright reds and yellows caught my eye, but rather than being part of a virgin field of wild flowers in a wooded glen, these were growing amidst a pile of old palettes at the edge of a parking lot. The hardest part of this shot was timing it between the stiff gusts of wind blowing across the lot.  I shot on Provia because it's what I had loaded from shooting earlier in the day.  I was pleasantly surprised by how fine the grain was, even when blown up to a 13x19 print. (Nikon FM2, Nikon 50mm f1.4 on Fuji Provia 400, shot at f2.8)


There's a little stand of trees between a church and a nursing home that I've driven by literally thousands of times and never thought twice about.  One morning a glint of light from the rising sun caught my eye through the trees and something made me turn into the nursing home and hike back into the woods where I found this picture.  The light only lasted a few minutes, and in contrast to the apparently tranquil scene, traffic noise from the road drowned out the sounds of the chirping birds. (Nikon N70, Nikon 20mm f2.8 on Ektachrome Extracolor 100 film.  Shot at f22)


A carpet of wild flowers on the forest floor is a beautiful scene and a photographic staple.  Scenes like this have been shot all over the world.  It just so happens that this one was shot in the side yard of a house in Northeast Philadelphia.  (Nikon N70, 28-105 f3.5-4.5 on Fuji Astia 100 shot at f22)




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With  creative framing photo-
graphers can create their own reality






...all shot within a few minutes of my house in the unphotogenic suburbs



















text and photography copyright 2001 Vivid Light Publishing