12 June 2008

Rückenfigur Redux

Rückenfigur Redux
For a long while the visual style of this blog was dictated by 'Rückenfigur', or 'back figure'. Shooting people from the back. It's been a while since I've taken any like this, as even fine visual concepts have to evolve. But here are a few from the other day.
BlueYellowGreenRed
There were a couple of reasons for this 'rückenfigur' angle. As mentioned previously we are, by and large, on our bikes while we shoot. Waiting for the light to change, flying along the bike lanes. It's a practical issue, really. It's a tad difficult to take photos backwards while riding a bike.

Pink Pink
Apart from that, we fancy the aesthetic value of the shots of peoples' backs and there are two specific artistic inspirations for this.

One is the aforementioned 'Rückenfigur'. It's a concept often related to romantic painters such as Caspar David Friedrich and aims to make visible what the person featured is looking at. We're sharing their view, as it were. There's a cool Flickr group dedicated to it.

The other one originates with the Chinese poet Zhu Ziqing and his poem 'Seeing Father From The Back' from 1925. There is a term in Chinese called 'Backsight', meaning basically the same thing as 'rückenfigur'. There is also a cool Flickr group on this angle.

The very first Cycle Chic photo was unplanned and a lucky coincedence in a sea of street photography.
Green Light Go *
But it launched a visual style and a subject matter and this blog.

5 comments:

Roadrider said...

When I take photos of things behind me (often at speeds of 40 kpm or more) I usually just let my arm hang straight down, resulting in an inverted image from a low vantage point. Glancing down at the viewer I just try to put the horizon near the center before pushing the button. Since most of my pics are of riders on racing bikes, the angle works well to show their faces better, although the bright sky in the background is sometimes a problem.

Ezra said...

You might consider mounting your DSLR on the rear fender with a remote shutter release.

deanp said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
deanp said...

“the aforementioned 'Rückenfigur'. It's a concept often related to romantic painters such as Caspar David Friedrich and aims to make visible what the person featured is looking at.”

Silly me, I always thought it was so the rider couldn't be identified, thus no need for a model release...

Zakkaliciousness said...

yes, that works for me on occasion, roadrider. but i do rather like the artistic philosophy of 'rückenfigur'. Once you've taken enough shots 'on the fly' you get an intuitive sense of framing and timing, don't you find? it's cool.

a mounted camera, ezra, would not be that organic. no freedom of movement. same frame and angle.

deanp: you don't need 'model releases' for street photography.