Perspective in photography and art utilizes the concept of imaginary vanishing points, or points at infinity, located at an infinite distance from the observer. This allows photographers and artists to create photographs and paintings that realistically render space, distances, and forms.
In my opinion, Photography is not a precise subject. Two people can stand on the same spot, viewing the same subject, use the same camera and get two different photographs. Aperture, Shutter Speed, White Balance and Zoom all contribute to the final image captured by the cameras sensor and saved to memory. Infinite possibilities? Maybe! Bit what exactly is infinite? Wikipedia describes Infinity (symbol: ∞) as an abstract concept describing something without any limit.
So what about Vanishing Points? If they can be located at an infinite distance from the observer and infinity is described as having no limits, does this mean I can have an infinite number of vanishing points at infinite distances into a photograph.
Confused? I know I am. Maybe I should be worrying less about infinity and vanishing points and concentrate more on getting the photograph.
However for the sake of argument let me explain why I took the photograph above of the Fremantle Prison Cell Block.
Simple really. I liked the composition.
The lines of the floor levels all converged towards the same spot at the opposite end of the corridor and if the corridor had been longer eventually the would have met at the same point. Hey! That’s a Vanishing Point.
OK! What about the next one of the beach shelter. First of all, I liked the sunset. But the main reason I photographed this was the perspective. The angles, especially in the roof. From where I was standing the two extreme points of the roof at the left and right of the photograph attracted my eye, especially as they both led away from the point nearest to me.
Uhh! Oh! Have I found more than one Vanishing Point? Is that allowed? Well have a read of this.
In graphical perspective, a vanishing point is a point in the picture plane π that is determined by a line in space. Given the oculus or eye point O and a line L not parallel to π, let M be the line through O and parallel to L. Then the vanishing point of L is the intersection of M and π. Traditional linear drawings use one to three vanishing points.
This is getting too scientific for me. Maybe I should just concentrate on taking photographs of what I like and forget all this scientific mumbo jumbo. So here’s a few that I thought you might be interested in.
I love this one of the cloisters at Gloucester Cathedral. The lighting. The stonework. The way the passage gets smaller and smaller towards the centre of the photograph. Did you know that some scenes from the Harry Potter movies were filmed here in the cloisters.
The bridge in the photo above is situated over the River Clyde in Glasgow. What particularly attracted me to photograph the bridge was the lighting. Oh! And the way the bridge just got smaller and smaller towards the centre of the photograph. It almost disappears. Well It would, because it slopes down on the other side.
I like trains, the older the better. Here are two from the Ffestiniog Railway which takes you on a 13½ mile journey from the harbour in Porthmadog to the slate-quarrying town of Blaenau Ffestiniog. Conveniently both pulled into the station at the same time and I was able to capture them. What I like about this photograph is the way the carriages get smaller and smaller before disappearing round the corner.
This spiral staircase caught my eye as i was walking the ancient town walls of Conwy in North Wales. First of all the colour and then the way the stairs spiralled down getting smaller and smaller, not quite disappearing, but you get my drift.
Berwyn railway station in Denbighshire, Wales, was formerly a station on the Ruabon to Barmouth line. Passenger services were originally suspended from 14 December 1964 following flood damage and officially closed to passengers on Monday 18 January 1965. It has since been restored and reopened in 1986 as an intermediate station on the preserved Llangollen Railway.
What attracted me to photograph the station was the long sweeping curve of the platform and railway lines as the got smaller and ……..need I say more.