The photographer in this instance took several steps to bring this image to life wrought careful and specific creation Of composition elements, the use Of a narrow lens, and focus manipulation. The moment that is captured is not completely explained; however, it is distinctly a military function of some type with soldiers in formation. As the soldiers all appear young and in dress uniforms, I surmise that the image is capturing a basic training graduation.
The subject of the photo, who has locked gaze with the lens, is framed in a close up shot approximately 2/5 from the left side of the image. This falls in line with the rule of the Golden Ratio, allowing an asymmetrical image, which raises the graphic energy of the photo, to appear balanced and visually relaxing to the audience. As well, the subject is in some type of military formation that, while not entirely in focus, uses a Z-axis vector to bring the action toward the viewer by extending beyond the left and right limits of the image.
This allows us to take part in the ceremony by raising the intimacy of the encounter. The use of soft, diffused lighting that does not exhibit fast shadow falloff is important to the photo as ell, as it does not distract the viewer nor does it have the subjects of the photograph squinting to counteract the effects of the sun. Recreation of this lighting would most easily be created outdoors on an overcast day; if it were attempted in a studio setting, one would desire at least a key, fill, and back light.
The fill light would need a soapbox for diffusion, and perhaps it would be prudent to maintain diffusion for the rest of your lighting in the even that it would be needed. Avoiding hard falloff is key to this composition as it increases the level of closeness to the audience. The use of a narrow-angle lens by the photographer is especially important in the composition of the image. The overlapping planes-?the silhouettes of young soldiers-?are brought closer together by the natural tendency for a narrow-angle lens to shrink the distance between objects on the Z-axis.
The use of this lens also provides a crowding effect that would not have been present in an opposing wide-angle lens. While we do not know what exists outside the height and width limitations of the frame, a narrow-angle lens allows the appearance of closeness that is likened to a multi-columned large litany formation to be felt-?even if this is a but single line of a marching soldiers. However, the most important aspect of the narrow-angle lens use is that it permits the photographer to capture a shallow depth of field which hones the audience in to the chosen subject of the photograph.
All of these carefully crafted aspects come together when the photo is viewed. The crowding effects, dominant positive volume, and the shortened appearance of the Z-axis heighten the sense of both unity and uniformity that is vital to military strength; the shallow depth of focus and choice of focal mint highlight the contrasting importance of the individual. This brings the viewer a juxtaposition of two very important aspects of serving one’s country.
It is just this joining of dissimilar ideals that attracted me, as an audience, to this image initially. Laden with my personal past military enlistment, I immediately identified with the claustrophobic feeling of being but one in a sea of many; simultaneously it was immensely important to me to retain a sense of individuality therein. But upon further examination, the photograph’s appeal to me grew. The manner in which the subject is framed, n a momentary glance to the audience, is over the shoulder of the soldier to his front.
All of this soldier’s peers are taller than he, bringing a sense of an underdog-?that he exerted more effort to become a member of this esteemed group. A careful construction of what could have easily been a very ordinary image-?through choices of composition, proper decision to use a telephoto lens, careful instinct to find a suitable focal length, and perfect timing-?captures eternally an important and telling moment for both an individual, his country, and a global audience.