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Photographing the Odd

Updated on April 28, 2014
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Photography is all about taking the best shot, capturing everything in detail or applying different techniques to create unusual effects, pleasing images.

Like many art forms photography continues to grow as a medium of expression, and almost everyday new subjects and new techniques are being developed that allows one to expand their photographic skills.

Miss match and odd is one of those styles that allows one to be really creative with their photography since the objective of this style, technique or theme is to create pairings that have almost nothing in common and photograph them in a composition.

You should look for subjects that when brought together will make an strange composition, sorts of like an odd couple. A variation is similar to the phrase "overkill", where images will show an overabundance of something to accomplish a rather minimal task.

Take for example a beautiful flower, you would think that the best repository for it would be a beautiful glass vase which would bring its beauty to the forefront. For this theme a better vessel would be a beer bottle.

Together they would strike a very odd pairing indeed. Another good example would be a savory dish of tasty soup and off course one would partake of it with a spoon. A miss match would be the soup dish and a fork to eat it with. Most will use scissors to trim hair, but not a grass trimmer.

There is basically an endless array of topics and situations with which one can apply this theme. Sports is not immune either. A good composition would be a football player, more precisely a quarterback, getting ready to release a shot right on target to a receiver running at full speed, except that instead of a football he would be hurling a beach ball.

One need not look far for suitable subjects, the home is full of them. A model fully dressed in a painter's garb, paint cans everywhere, a prepped wall ready to be painted and the painter is holding a pencil or a hairbrush dipped in paint. A nice an expensive looking dress that needs some small stitches to fix a small tear and a hammer with nails to fix it with. Toothpaste and a broom to brush your teeth with.

There are also samples which are easier to set up, like a male model dressed in a tuxedo while wearing flip flops, or a chef holding a sledgehammer to crack some eggs. The key is to find subjects that are at odds with each other and when placed side by side or when the composition suggest that one goes with the other, will make really strange and out of place combinations. The more odd and ridiculous the better as this is what this topic's main purpose is.

Nature can also offer its share of subjects applicable for this technique, but mainly these will be opportunistic situations such as when two different species seem to have formed a friendship, and usually due to unusual circumstances since nature is very "orderly".

People are some of the best subjects, but be aware of being too eager to record a photograph and forget to be sensitive, such as "beauty and the beast" pairs. In cases when you intend to represent this project using people, it is usually best to use hired models, friends or relatives who are willing to be photographed in odd situations.

Don't forget that with the aid of a digital editing program your horizon expands and you can combine subjects to make them fit the theme.

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Be mindful that the project is not to photograph opposites, but oddities. Good compositions can be achieved with still life subjects and these can be found almost anywhere if you keep an open mind and develop a photographer's mindset.

Remember that everyone sees things, a photographer sees new ways of seeing the same things.

This challenge is mostly a fun project with a comical motif, since the majority of images will elicit a response of amusement from its audience. However, some pairings can be used with a purpose such as to convey a message. One such image would be a delicious chocolate cake with a waist line measuring tape inside of it, or even the same cake served on a weight scale or a large meal that has been consumed and followed up with a glass of diet soda.

Many of these images will benefit from being captured in a close up mode as the distortion in perspective can help emphasize the oddness of the composition. We could go on for hours listing odd pairs upon odd pairs. Just be mindful to use a little creativity and study your surroundings for available opportunities.

© 2011 Luis E Gonzalez


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    • LuisEGonzalez profile image

      Luis E Gonzalez 5 years ago from Miami, Florida

      Zabella: Thank you

    • Zabbella profile image

      Zabbella 5 years ago from NJ-USA

      Great topic. I like the photos you used. It took me a little longer viewing the Fed Ex truck....but then I got it! (voted up)

    • LuisEGonzalez profile image

      Luis E Gonzalez 6 years ago from Miami, Florida

      katyzzz: made me laugh...thank you

    • katyzzz profile image

      katyzzz 6 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Really interesting and a different perspective on photography, goo on you Luis

    • LuisEGonzalez profile image

      Luis E Gonzalez 6 years ago from Miami, Florida

      randomcreative: thank you

    • randomcreative profile image

      Rose Clearfield 6 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Great topic! I love your photo examples.

    • LuisEGonzalez profile image

      Luis E Gonzalez 6 years ago from Miami, Florida

      Cardisa: Thank you very much, yes they are candid

    • Cardisa profile image

      Carolee Samuda 6 years ago from Jamaica

      A work of art. Good job Luis. I kinda like taking unusual shots like these. I like when they are natural, not posed. What's it called? Candid shots?