Playing The Long Game: Outdoor Photography With Telezooms



Time for an update: I still use film, though. Not vast quantities, but I have a darkroom, and I'm not afraid to use it.

I enjoy every image I take: I hope you'll enjoy looking at them.
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8 Jul 2020 9:51AM   Views : 458 Unique : 355


Thanks for the title, Malc… All I have to do is tease out some of the photographic implications of differing juxtapositions – and different things to juxtapose.

For a start, all of the pictures you take are the result of the way that you choose to juxtapose yourself and your camera in relation to the world. You choose the angle and distance of your camera position: you choose whether to put it on a mountaintop or in a studio. And you can make what might be called style choices: you can do candid pictures with a wideangle lens shooting from the hip, or you can do the Martin Parr thing with a large camera and a flashgun – observational or confrontational. The shot of me with a model at the top immediately indicates serious photographic intent rather than a casual snap with the light and the paper background on the left. (C) Emma Duder.

You can decide to style the contents of your image so that all of the objects in your still life are genuinely Victorian (or at least look as if they are), or you can introduce a deliberate clash: the face mask on the old lady, or the surreal octopus draped across the model. That may be one of the things that is overworked, as fashion shows seek to make everything look more and more outrageous – a coat made of steak sets the bar pretty high!


The juxtaposition may be the story of the picture: sometimes the setting and the accessories in a portrait tell you a great deal about the sitter or the situation, even if they are ‘found’ rather than placed by the photographer. And, of course, you can choose a few accessories to define a location – a few planks and a bale of straw turn any corner into a barn. Add an old pitchfork and credible lighting, and you’re there. This holiday shot of my wife channelling Jenni Murray reminds us of a lovely holiday on Rhodes: relaxation and sunshine, and the promise of food are obvious!

I have a certain fondness for the surreal – it may be the result of growing up with BBC radio comedy (specifically, I’m from the ‘I’m Sorry, I’ll Read That Again’ generation, in between the Goons and Monty Python… So I like a rounded ending to most of my jokes). Hence, on finding that a Zenith camera in my possession was beyond any reasonable use, I painted it red as a prop. I make no apology for using a second shot of me pointing it at Nee Naa as an illustration.

Whether they’re in harmony or clashing, you choose how you arrange the elements in your frame: do you want a very formal composition, or do you have the elements strewn about? If you’re like me, the idea of having to arrange everything in the frame from scratch is rather horrifying, but you may recognise a nice arrangement when you see it… You may even recognise which elements need a little bit of adjustment for the perfect picture.

Go on. Go out. And juxtapose your camera with something or someone!


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JuBarney Avatar
JuBarney Plus
12 36 7 United Kingdom
8 Jul 2020 9:53PM
A cracking shot with the red camera!
dudler Avatar
dudler Plus
20 2.1k 2048 England
9 Jul 2020 6:53AM
Thanks, Ju.

I'm surprised that more people haven't done this with cameras that are either beyond repair or hopelessly cheap and oversupplied...
Chrism8 Avatar
Chrism8 16 1.1k 34 England
9 Jul 2020 9:14AM
Ah..... and the Pentax in use on the top image Smile
dudler Avatar
dudler Plus
20 2.1k 2048 England
10 Jul 2020 8:13AM
I've just checked, Chris. I do have a WLF for my Pentax 67, but don't use it much.

That's a Hasselblad with a 150mm lens - classic Bailey stuff...

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