It’s true. There are some sacred rules that shall not be broken. Verticals must be vertical. Horizontal lines must be horizontal. If you go for that one point perspective… you better not miss, its better to not even look like you were trying for it than to be a little bit off. Whites should really be white. Shadows should only be where shadows should naturally fall. Mirrors are portals to the land of the damned and will suck your soul out through your eyes. Trust me. They are evil and can not be trusted. In even the dirtiest house there will be paintings that are so incredibly clean they reflect EVERY little photon that strikes them, seemingly amplified and into your lens.
You are no longer a “civilian”, you can not look at houses on the local MLS, or pass the time waiting for an order of food looking at one of those realtor magazines. You don’t even know what the houses look like. But you do know that the verticals were off in that one picture. You know that the overcooked, lazy HDR made the ceiling joints look like they are damaged by smoke. That someone… someone peed around every single light fixture. How else do you explain those yellow stains on the ceiling? And why are the windows greenish and purple and blue?
But… but is the house nice? I don’t know! Look at these pictures!
...but instead, there are minions of dark forces about, lurking in every corner, everything starts to look crooked and mad... and maybe if you just look a little bit harder you will see that vertical line being a tiny teeny bit off... and in your tired, beat up photographer brain, you see THIS!!! (insert dramatic horror movie music here)
I have to put my hands in my pockets because my fingers are fidgeting and making all the little gestures they would be if I were sitting over my computer… fixing ALL OF IT.
Oh, and forget watching TV. Just forget it. You’re watching a show, the characters are having a deep, heartfelt moment…and you don’t even know who’s on the screen. But you know, oh YOU KNOW, that the camera isn’t level – LOOK AT THOSE CROOKED VERTICALS! And the white balance??? How hard is it to level a camera for crying out loud, on a multimillion-dollar Hollywood production? This is unwatchable… my eyes hurt. My head hurts. I want to turn the TV on its side.
And then there is that one picture, you know the one? From the lovely historical home? The one that’s a 120 years old and you loved it to bits, but oh my goodness… Nothing is straight in those houses… you see… they settle… over the centuries… some beams are a little less than horizontal. Some walls… a little less than vertical. And you used to love it. It was “character”, it gave those special, beautiful houses heart, soul! But now you just sit there with a Rubik’s cube of an image… Trying to make it all straight and you’re ready to scream…
Eventually, in the dark, with a computer screen burnt into your optic nerves, you rock gently, back and forth like Kurtz in the Heart of Darkness… and those brave enough to come close can hear a horse whisper escaping your parched lips:
“The Verticals… The… Ver..ti…cals!!!!!!!!”
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TwoSixPix philosophies, tips and tricks, and just a little peek into who I am behind the camera.