This exercise looks at perspective by keeping the subject at the same size within the frame while changing focal lengths. Unlike the previous exercise, this will require changing camera to subject distance and this will change the perspective within each shot.
The first image requires a medium distance portrait taken with my longest focal length. Of my three lens, the 56mm (85mm equivalent) is the longest and is a classic portrait lens, a short telephoto. The ISO was 800, the aperture f8 and exposure was 1/125 th of a second.
The second image is taken with my shortest focal length of 16mm (24mm equivalent) at ISO2 200, f1.6 and the exposure was 1/1250 th of a second.
The images look strikingly different. The distortion in the face and hat is noticeable and the difference in angle of view has introduced elements of sky which were absent in the previous image. In the first image I was standing about 8 feet away and in the second about 2 feet. Despite the difference in aperture, the background is out of focus in both images although the light out of focus branch in the first image is distracting The lighting is similar but it does show how perspective distortions can radically affect the appearance of a subject.
Martin Schoeller manages to combine the use of a mild telephoto with proximity to dramatic effect in his portraits, “Close Up” being a very famous project. Despite using a 140mm lens on his 6x7cm Mamiya RZ67 (it’s field of view is 35˚, equivalent to a 72mm lens in 35mm terms or mild telephoto) he still manages to induce distortion and an almost uncomfortable sense of reality due to his relatively close proximity to his subject (4-5 feet).
Used carefully, this provides a spectacularly alternative take on classic portraiture which is compelling to view, especially when the images are printed larger than life size.
- https://martinschoeller.com/WORK/Close-Up/18 – accessed January 2018
- Bloomfield, R (2014) Photography 1: Expressing your Vision., OCA 2017, p.43