Nordfjord by Eirik Holmøyvik
From Nordfjord by Eirik Holmøyvik
LensWork and LensWork Extended #67
© 2006 Eirik Holmøyvik. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the photographer.
This rock is known as "The Whale." How many rocks in the world have a name? Certainly, this one deserves it.
Several things about this photograph come to mind.
First, the perfectly bilateral symmetry is perfect for this image. It emphasizes the symmetry in the rock itself while simultaneously drawing attention to the not quite symmetrical nature of the left side. Did you happen to notice that Holmøyvik also placed the horizon line directly in the skinniest part of the balancing column? This is a case of perfect camera placement and fractions of an inch making all the difference in the world.
Second, the inclusion of the Polaroid film border is such an important decision in this image. We are definitely looking at an art object here, not just an interesting rock. In fact, the inclusion of the border draws attention, I think, to the exact placement of the rock in the image. The border is the photographer saying, "I did this on purpose" with and exclamation point. I think it's nicely done. In fact, the slightly mottled sky that is an artifact of the film adds a bit more to this. Interestingly, Holmøyvik included this subject in two different versions in his submission. We used the cropped version without the Polaroid border in LensWork (print) and this version, a vertical with the Polaroid border, in LensWork Extended. Here is the print edition version — a fascinating comparison.
Third, symmetry is a thing of balance, not of rulers. Look again at the Polaroid version above and you'll see that the rock is actually not in the measured center of the image. A centering ruler will reveal that the numerical center of the image is on the right edge where the center column in the rock kisses the horizon, not the center of the support column itself. This is important because of the background where the distant rock juts in from the left of the image more than the larger rock does from the right. Look at the relative amount of water line to the left and right of the subject rock and you'll easily see the importance of the counterbalance in the placement of the main subject. It feels in the center, rather than being in the center. It takes a delicate eye to discern the importance of this shift and Holmøyvik is to be congratulated for this.
If I have a bone to pick (no pun intended) with this image it would be that I find it a tad dark, perhaps too much contrast. I don't know if this is a function of the digital file we have or an accurate reflection of the Polaroid print he made. If it's too dark on the screen here, my apologies to Holmøyvik.
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