Traditionally and Untraditionally Cute Things

The following pictures contain:

1 Puppy

1 Cat

1 Stuffed Animal

1 Blow-up Penguin

3 Dogs

1 Wet Spot of Concrete and 3 Leaves

THEY ARE ALL CUTE.


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The owner had him trained to do this. [Harbin, China]

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Kitty “in the wild”. [Fenyang, China]

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Stuffed animal squished against a car windshield. Love this pic. [Taiyuan, China]

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The Facebook of China, QQ, has a penguin mascot. (This one is 50 feet tall.) [Shenzhen, China]

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Love this pic as well. The top two dogs are so shaggy. There are spots for 9 doggies here. I’m happy the middle dog is not one up (though it would be symmetrical). [Tilamuren Grasslands, Hohhot, Inner Mongolia, China]

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I only take pictures like these when I’m really “in the mode” (i.e. taking pictures of everything). It is cute thought, right? (Right?) [Walking from Dongguan to Shenzhen, China]

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I feel like I just played a sick Rick Roll on y’all. Sorry? [Behind my school’s cafeteria, Fenyang, China]


 Until Next Time

Next time I go on a trip, I’d like to take more untraditionally cute pictures. I like personifying things. Hope you enjoyed this batch!

– Rhys

Understanding China: Pure People Part 1

People are the most powerful tool a photographer has.

Faces, more specifically. It’s a huge contributor to the power of DLSR’s and oof (out of focus). Blur the background + pop the face => great picture.

The pictures today are of people. And they’re of people in a vacuum. Save a small location caption, I haven’t written any text about them. In a way, there’s nothing to write. These pictures don’t fit into Photo Series 1: My Stories From China nor Photo Series 3: Photography in the Abstract. They are categorized in Photo Series 2: Understanding China simply because people combined are culture. They’re here, by themselves, together.


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[Classical Gardens of Suzhou, Suzhou, China]

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[Shanghai Museum of Ancient Chinese Art, Shanghai, China]

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[City Wall, Pinyao, China]

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[Fenyang, China]

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[Macao Musuem, Macao, China]

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[Top of stadium bleachers, Fenyang, China]

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[Xian, China]

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[City wall, Xian, China]

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[Hohhot, Inner Mongolia, China]

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[Gravestone painter, Hohhot, Inner Mongolia, China]


Until Next Time

It’s nice to write posts like these when I don’t want to think too much. No story construction. No societal arguments. No photographic analyzations. Just pictures. Hope you enjoyed the post!

– Rhys

Photography in the Abstract: Smallness Helps Composition

The internet loves compact things: tweets, gifs, vines, tl;dr.

But photography hasn’t been squeezed yet. Small photos are not a thing because photos say 1000 words, no matter their size. If anything, the trend has been in the other direction, towards HD and some-large-double-digit-amount-of-megapixel cameras. However, I think there’ll be a pushback towards the small, not simply for the sake of small itself (the internet is not artsy enough for that), but towards an interconnectedness of ideas, each represented by a picture. Pinterest boards are a good initial example of this.

I, unlike the internet, am artsy (inefficient?) enough to explore small for small’s sake. Last week I looked at “View As Small” photography from the “creation medium, consumption medium” perspective. For my examples, I used small photography where the smallness helps emphasize the subject. This week we’ll look at small photography where the smallness helps emphasize the composition (the connected parts). Again, the pictures will be shown at the same size as my camera’s LCD screen — 400×225. And again, these are photos that are better small than large (simply being good small is not enough). Finally, as we always do in Photography in the Abstract posts, let’s ask the “how do I create” question:

How can you use small photography to create pictures with a great composition?


Smallness Helps Me See The Whole Puzzle

These pictures are ones where there are a couple component parts that look good when they’re close together. I don’t need to move my eyes or neck to see how it all relates.

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Love this picture. It looks strangely 2D. I like the light’s scarf. Smallness emphasizes the 3 columns (wall, glass, glass). [Xi’an History Museum, Xi’an, China]

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Prototypical example of this small puzzle idea. Smallness makes each of the component parts stand out. I’d claim there are 6 parts. [World’s biggest panda zoo, Chengdu, China]

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Top blackness is a 180 degree flip of the top of the buildings. Easier to make that connection when small. The top blackness is the inside of a car btw. [Taiyuan, China]

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In the top 5% of my strangest pictures from China. It’s columns and their reflections on a marble floor. Smallness allows us to more easily extract parts of the composition puzzle. Two shafts of reflected blue light from right to left. Each of the column reflections from top to bottom. The three non-reflective elements (columns). [Terracota Warriors, Xi’an, China]

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Looks flat but hole seems to be pointed to the right. This is on the roof of a building located in China’s primary movie filming location. [Kaiping, China]

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Wheel as a smaller radius cutout of the semicircle to its left. Far left pole is a tiny bit crooked, which I love to hate. [Chengdu, China]

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Smallness Helps People Live Near the Edges

It can sometimes be pro to put humans near the edges, but it creates some tension in the picture. (Examples from my Nepal/India pictures: one, two.) Feel how you want to look at the person but also want to look at the remaining 90% space of the picture? Sometimes it’s nice to put someone in the corner without creating that eye tension. Smallness allows us to do this — get the corner person + big space without the tension.

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Love the reflections here by the way. [Dongguan, China]

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Love the top left green corner and the hair grab. [Teacher’s Day, Fenyang, China]

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Smallness Emphasizes Contraction

Contraction, by it’s very nature, is easier to spot when small. When it’s large, you end up following a line to its conclusion. The viewing becomes more about the following of lines than of the shape of the line as a whole. Viewed As Small, you can concentrate on the line in full.

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Try viewing this picture big. (Click on it.) When it’s big, the textures and wood patterns are emphasized. When it’s small, we really get to see the vanishing from bottom right to top left. [Bamboo at the world’s biggest panda zoo, Chengdu, China]

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This one is subtle. The red line and the shadow above it are not quite parallel. There’s an assumed convergence point approximately 7,273 pixels away to the top left. When this photo is small, this convergence point is visualizable (because it’s less far away). When big, we lose this long view. [Tourist old street, Chengdu, China]

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Another take on the same idea. When small, we get this feeling of endlessly smaller horses. When big, the horses turn into their own distinct objects. We want the aggregate not the individual. These are the horses that were made alongside the terracota army. [Xi’an, China]

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Smallness Emphasizes Smallness

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When small, we get to feel like we’re a zoom level further out. The humans are smaller. Kind of circular but still worth saying. Small photography can make things look smaller. [Fenyang, China]

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Smallness Emphasizes Two-Leveled Out-of-Focus

In these pictures, we want to emphasize that there are two distinct focus levels. The smallness allows this two-leveled-ness to pop rather than other elements of the picture.

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Hollow circles are perfect for two-leveled focus like this. [Xilamuren, Inner Mongolia, China]

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Cutie. [Fenyang, China]

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Smallness Keeps the Pixelization Away

These pictures embody the simplest reason for View As Small photography. Sometimes your pictures are pixelated. Sad news bears. Luckily, making them smaller takes away the pixelation pain. Just do it.

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These are name binders of Chinese people who died in the Nanjing Massacre. (400,000 of them.) [Nanjing, China]

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It’s a 25-foot snow sculpture of Michael Jackson. Creepy. [Harbin, China]

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Until Next Time

I hope you enjoyed this brief foray into View As Small photography. I think it’s not naturally as striking as large photography, but is still worthwhile because it’s different and can emphasize other parts of the composition or subject. In other words, it’s another tool that us picture-takers can use to create meaning in photography.

Let me know if you know any photographers who specialize in View As Small photography! Or of any other ways that small photography can be used to create great pictures.

Thanks for reading!

Rhys