We see someone taking photos in an impossible situation. We can tell they won’t capture what is surely the target subject matter — like the star in a performance from seats in the outer beyond. Using flash — so annoying — they might end up with a nice memory of the backs of the heads several rows in front of them. Without flash, and without a several thousand dollar lens, we think, what’s the point?
In the interest of full disclosure: I am one of those people, aiming my phone from 30 rows above the main floor and from as far away as a basketball court is long (but never in flash mode). Except, I know when to not expect a clear picture of the subject. With digital photography and simple editing, however, seemingly impossible situations can still be opportunities to capture beautiful imagery.
Take these photos from a Stevie Wonder concert I attended recently.
The first shot adopts characteristics of other art forms. It’s clearly a stage scene, but the figures, instruments and lights are formed by shapes of color. I know what Stevie looks like, and I can find a good image of him anytime. But without his performance and my distant seat, I could not have captured and edited this image, which I enjoy looking at almost as much as I do listening to his music. My edits were minimal, all within the capabilities of my iPhone 5.
The second shot, from the same event, is a view of seats below us, including a level of special suites. Abstract, painterly, well composed and washed in the richest blues with faint dabs of the crowd. That’s a memory of the audience I can appreciate.