Negative Space and Portrait Photography

Photo Assignment #10 :: Positive and Negative Space in Photography Composition

Ted Forbes gave me the opportunity to rethink photographic composition from the perspective of positive and negative space.  Here are some examples / experiments from my portrait photography. Most pictures are shot with analog cameras on Film. It was an excellent occasion to do a revision of my own photographic language and hopefully it would help to do some better work in the future ... 

Ted is doing an inspirational and motivational  work about art and photography through his youtube video channel, here his original description:  Photo Assignment #10

Published on Jul 25, 2017

The next Photo Assignment is to explore possibilities of positive and negative space. Positive and negative space are compositional elements that describe what's important in a photograph or visual composition and what is supportive.

Positive space is usually the subject of your photography - its where you want to draw the eye of the viewer. The space this takes up in the composition is referred to as Positive Space. Negative Space refers to things like the background and supportive elements. Negative Space has a role beyond just staying out of the way. You can create interest by carefully using this negative space to support the subject in your photograph's composition.

Blur the background - Pentax 67, Takumar f2.4 105mm, Kodak BW400CN

Urban environment / Blur the background - Nikon F photomic, Nikkor f1.2 50mm, Kodak Tri-X

Extend the background Texture  - Zeiss Contax IIIa, Opton f1.5 50mm, Kodak Tri-X

Studio backdrop - Nikon D7000

Floral structure - Plaubel Makina 67, Kodak TMAX 400

Blur the background - Pentax 67, Takumar f2.4 105mm, Kodak BW400CN 

Body and  concrete  structure A - Zeiss Ikoflex IIa, Kodak TMAX 100

Body and  concrete structure B - Zeiss Ikoflex IIa, Kodak TMAX 100

Body and  concrete structure C  - Zeiss Ikoflex IIa, Kodak TMAX 100

Urban environment - Nikon FE2, Nikkor f1.2 50mm, MACO 400S

Floral stuctures - Nikon F, Nikkor f1.2 50mm, MACO400S

Floral structure - Nikon D800E, Nikkor f1.4 85mm

Studio backdrop - Pentax 67, f2.4 105mm,  Kodak TMAX400

Studio backdrop and props - Makina 67, Kodak TMAX400

Studio backdrop and light effect - Nikon D800E, Nikkor f1.4 50mm

Studio backdrop - Hasselblad 501CM, f2.8 80mm,  Kodak TMAX 400

Urban background - Voigtlaender BESSAMATIC, f2.8 50mm, Kodak TMAX 3200


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