Collin J Örthner – Photographer

November 14, 2012

Shapes and Interactions

A couple weeks back while in Calgary, I was down in the Ogden area  which has a lot of light industrial including the ADM Milling Plant along Bonnybrook Road. They mill wheat here and it arrives by either train or truck. I am obviously on the truck side of the plant and found this very busy scene full of shapes and textures. The challenge then became how to find an composition that used these shapes to the best benefit. All the different interactions that go on in a composition like this can be confusing and some sort of order is necessary to keep the viewers interest. Watching for a balance between different shapes(i.e. circles, triangles, squares and lines) can be a challenge, but I think that virtually every scene you might come across, wether it be a landscape or an industrial scene like this one, has the potential to be “organized”. Notice the odd number of wheels verses the even number of truck trailers. The three wheels are also anchoring the dark triangle above it ,which is really just a space. There is a single telephone pole that has been cut off, so to speak, halfway down the image only to re-appear again just above the one tire keeping the bottom half of the image from being it’s own entity, but now part of the whole. The many horizontal lines contrast with the very stark and obvious vertical line of the trailers and the building behind. The somewhat random and imperfect lines of the telephone cables and the curved lines painted on the trailers contrast nicely with the many ‘perfect” straight lines throughout the image. Then we have all the small square windows adding still another shape, the square into the equation. There is also a balance of tones in the image ranging from virtually pure white to pure black, but with many tones of gray in-between. Sure there is a lot to think about but I find when I make images like this it really only takes a few seconds to “see” it.  These types of images are some of my favourite kind to shoot, not a pretty postcard, instead an image that challenges me to watch for patterns, shapes, textures, interactions, and tones, and it’s my hope that the viewer will find a pleasing, and hopefully stimulating experience from them.



[Sigma DP2 Merrill]




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