The power of space makes it the last frontier of the art elements. Space is a vital element of any art. It simply is there. This element is both existent and non-existent at the same time.
There are several varieties of space each having an exact opposite. Space in fine art is rather mathematical in form. As with any formula, what you give to one side of the equation you must take from the other. Thus, the use of space in fine art photography is wholly give and take. If you take away the positive or open space you get more negative or closed and vice versa.
The kinds of space are:
- Positive and Negative- Sometimes determined by white for positive and black for negative, it is generally the area occupied by an object or the empty are around the object.
- Open and Closed- the area inside a circle refers to closed space while the outside of the circle is open space.
- 2 Dimensional or 3 Dimensional Space- this is a study in perspective. Since all pictures are actually flat any 3 dimensional use of space is an illusion that the mind uses to create space.
I’ve always liked the linear example illusion of 3 dimensional space. If you look at a railway or a road in a picture you’ll see that the two edges of the road will appear as parallel lines that begin to converge on a single point in the distance. This creates illusions of depth in the photograph.
In photography, space is one of the most important of the elements. The artist regularly uses positive and negative space to highlight an object while making another object seem unimportant. The use of depth of field allows the subject of the photograph to appear crystal clear and the center of attention while another object appears blurred in the background giving an open space that defines the intended subject.
Another example of the use of space in photography is the white or black backdrop found in a typical photographers portrait studio. The person having their picture taken is clear and in focus while the background is out of focus and provides a clear distinction between what is important, the model, and what is not, the background.
Whether a piece of fine art is a photograph, sculpture, or painting, space is where the action is or isn’t. Space is a vital transmitter of emotion and feeling in any piece of art. It is the last frontier of elements in world of fine art photography.
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