By Luc Rabaey
1 Aug 2008
'Line up' implies combining foreground and background to create shapes distinct from the photograph's subject matter. You can practice a line up in urban scapes, stills, portraits, streetphotography etc. as an additional formal element.
It is more effective in b&w. When everything is reduced to grey tones, the combination of similar tones in physically different layers can blend photographically to create ambiguous situations and leave some mystery. Basically the form of the photograph assumes the role of content.
Photographers as Mike Smith, Christopher Rauchenberg, Elliot Erwitt, Lee Friedlander sometimes produced line up images and so did Blake Andrews who introduced me to that type of formal play and from whom I quote.
'What bothers me is that when things in a photograph are lined up, the shot can appear too thought out. There should be a delicate balancing act between casualness and perfection. A good photo requires some of each, yet too much of either can ruin it. So when a shot is very carefully lined, when the elements in the shot interrelate with such precision that any other vantage point would ruin the photo, that photo might be missing a slight piece of its soul, the accidental part.'
So it is a matter of showing images in which the formal play is not too striking and is integrated in the image. That's what we can try to do.