Design Principles

"Reflecting on the Past"
Photographer: Michelle Watt


Balance: A visual measure of equality that keeps the composure of the photograph even.

I took this picture at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. It is a permanent exhibit in the Egyptian area of the museum called the Temple of Dendur. This room is one of my favorites in the entire museum. It's so grand; so open and I wanted to capture that in a photo. Now, there are some places, some scenes you just can't capture, and this room was one of them. It's not my favorite picture, and definitely not one of my best, but I do think it is an appropriate portrayal of balance, which can be found in the reflective aspect of the photo. If you were to flip the photo upside down, you would have a very similar photo - to a certain degree. The focus of this photo isn't necessarily the temple, like most photos taken of this room. I was focusing on the area as a whole - trying to capture the openness of the room with a bright, open, photograph. Many photos taken in museums are missing something extremely important - people. On museum websites and pamphlets, "professional" photos display the grand qualities of the exhibits, but, as I always wonder, where are the people? Too many photo opportunities are ruined by one's impatient waiting game - but who says people have to be out of the way before we take the shot? To me, the people in the museum are as much a part of the exhibit themselves. In this photo, the people are simply reflecting on the past - quite literally.

Photographer: Michelle Watt


Texture: A photograph that gives the audience an idea of what subject feels like.

This is one of my favorite photos. I took it from a little dinghy, floating in the Pacific Ocean. (And I nearly fell in the sea trying to balance and take a photo at the same time.) When I look at this photo, I can feel the water's texture on my fingertips; it's shockingly cold. I feel like I'm bobbing up and down in the waves. I'm there. I was so surprised at how calm the sea was when I took this. The ocean can be dangerous, and stronger than imaginable. And our hands are so powerful, so potentially dangerous. I tried to capture the very opposite of this - the water was calm, and so was I. The hand in this photo is mine, but it could be anyone's. It's simply reaching out and joining the peace of the sea. The lighting in this photo is pretty important. It was daytime, and the sun is of great importance when photographing the water - in this case, the sun makes the surface seem reflective. The thing I like most about this picture is how it is balanced - one half of the photo is dominated by the hand/arm, and the other is dominated by the ripples from a simple touch.

"Twin Soliloquies"

Photographer: Michelle Watt


Framing: Using other elements in the photo to frame the main subject.

I love this photo. I love this place. I spend so much time at various beaches - there's so many things to see and endless photography opportunities. This picture was taken in Queenswood, just before the sun set one winter day. I was getting ready to leave, when I turned around one last time. I saw a couple standing in front of the only bench on the little beach. They were laughing, talking, perhaps sharing secrets. I watched them for a few moments, intrigued with how well they fit within the scenery. The trees were framing their silhouettes as if they were meant to be there. The light of the day was fading, but there was enough coming through the gap in the forest to make the photo work. The path to the beach effectively split the photo in two separate pieces. But the couple in the center - the focus - are one. I took just one photo of them, before continuing on my way. When I reviewed the picture later, I was surprised at how small they seemed compared to the surrounding them. The trees certainly hadn't seemed so dominant while standing there. It's almost as if nature was saying; "Look how powerful I am. I surround you. I dominate. I am the framing of those special moments in your life."

edit_217368_168809436507543_100001354622076_362743_3556767_n.jpgPhotographer: Michelle Watt


Direction: Visual knowledge of where the subject is going.

This is also one of my favorite photographs. Perhaps it's because I can recall the night in perfect detail - the excitement of a birthday, the taste of such incredible food, and the freedom of finally being sixteen. I believe that all of these components can be found in this photo. The sparkler in this photo is not only the source of light in the photo, but the subject. Yet somehow, it's not the subject. It kind of represents all the aspects of the party; the celebration, and turning sixteen. What I love most about this photo is the sparks on either side of the main sparkler. They look like birds -and what else can be used to represent freedom than two birds soaring away? Who knows what direction they are going? Though they appear to be going east and west, who knows where they will end up? Who knows where we are going. Maybe we're going crazy.
"One flew east, one flew west..."

Neverland,_perhaps.jpgPhotographer: Michelle Watt



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In a Rush to Celebrate

Photographer: Michelle Watt


Movement: Capturing motion; often by slowing down shutter speed

Once again, a candle-themed photo. Obvious where the light comes from, of course. I think the balance of this photo is fairly equal - there's a large amount of darkness in comparison to the light of the candles, which works. The movement in this photo represents more than just carrying a cake into another room: the rush of time. When we are young, we are in such a rush to grow up. I've always wondered - at what point do we stop wanting to be older? When does it switch? Is there an age where we are just perfectly content with what we are? I try to make every year feel like that, even when the world is speeding on by.
My photos often mean a lot more than what you see.

Out of Place

Photographer: Michelle Watt


Contrast: Having two opposite elements work together tp create an image.

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