Photography Turns 3 Dimensions Into 2

The recently released science fiction movie “Interstellar” presents the concept of adding a 4th and 5th dimension into our 3 dimensional world. That got me thinking about how photographers go in the opposite direction, turning our 3 dimensional world into 2 dimensions. The photographs below are exercises in exploring this concept intentionally.

The Old Barn

When studying this old barn, I liked how the angles created by the roof, windows and broken door would look in a 2 dimensional photograph. After composing the image, I decided to remove the pole leaning against the door. It’s a distraction right? Then I closed one eye to look at the scene in 2 dimensions and realized that the pole actually adds a contrasting angle to the door. Diagonal lines and triangles can add a lot of visual interest to an image, so I left it  and feel like the finished photograph is better because of it. A distraction in 3 dimensions became a compositional element in two.

Old Barn Composition by Richard Lewis

Old Barn Composition by Richard Lewis 2014


Old Shrimp Boat at Dusk by Richard Lewis

Old Shrimp Boat at Dusk by Richard Lewis 2014

On a recent trip to Florida, I photographed an old shrimp boat, named Senseless, at sunset to get a “post card” shot that included the entire boat. That image is on the right.

Early the next morning I went back to photograph the boat again with the light coming from the front. All those angles caused by the ropes and rigging combined with the textures of the old wood on the boat and dock were quite interesting. Thinking of this old shrimp boat as a 2 dimensional object made finding the right composition for this photograph a study of line and form instead of an image of an old boat.

Senseless by Richard Lewis

Senseless by Richard Lewis 2014

How I Did It – Closing one eye is a great technique all photographers should use. It temporarily removes our ability to see depth so we get to see the world the way our camera does.


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