Variations on a theme

Every photograph I create is usually the result of many hours of exploration and experimentation. As I am work with a new subject, I will often create a large number of photographs that are slight variations on each other, trying to find the exact image that best expresses the spirit of the subject. I’ll start with a general perspective that intrigues me, compose a basic image of it, and then will end up spend hours (or days) creating countless images that play with focus, detail, texture, and lighting. I usually try to boil these photographs down to one final master image that best expresses my vision for the piece. But sometimes that choice is not so obvious.

Abstractions of a fallen leaf by Daniel Sroka ©2010

Trying to decide between two variations of the same photograph

These two photographs are a good example. For the last few days I have been working on this one leaf I collected last fall. Dried, brittle and deep orange-red in color, it has been a surprising source of inspiration. In this photograph, I have created two variations that I am quite happy with. Although roughly identical, each has a slightly different focus and mood. The one of the left captures more of a sense of motion and fluidity, while the one on the right explores the textures and details.

I’ve been going back and forth, trying to decide which of these two photographs is the “correct” version of the image I am seeing. But sometimes I realize that one image is better expressed through multiple photographs. While nearly the same, each offers a different perspective that is crucial to the meaning of the whole image.

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  1. Fascinating! I have to say, I’m really taken by the one on the left. I can’t take my eye off that little bit of texture in the top right corner – it keeps drawing me in.

  2. Brandi, that’s the problem for me – each has some detail that captivates me in turn, so I keep going back and forth

  3. you are not tempted to merge them into one ?

    i love all your photography and understand your toing and froing regarding ‘which pic’ is the one … sometimes though, space and time give you the aha moment ?

    lovely lovely work >>> Gina

  4. ah, that sharp line on the left one, but, hmm, then again, that fluid nature of the right!! I love them both Daniel!

  5. Dan, is it crazy for me to think this works as a diptych? The slightly different perspectives have me exploring each image in a way I may not have were they alone.

  6. Paul, that is probably what I am going to do. I just really like both of them, and think they work very well as a pair.

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