Fay Godwin – Flooded Tree Derwentwater 1981

I really like Fay Godwin’s photographs. It was a great pleasure to visit the Land Revisited Exhibition earlier this year.

I think this image – Flooded Tree Derwentwater (can be seen here – you may need to scroll across to get to this particular image) – is probably my favourite of all her work. To me it is as interesting for what is not in the picture as for what is shown.

The top of the tree is cut out of the frame, the reflection of the tree is also curtailed by the bottom frame , similarly the left of the frame contains the tree and its reflection.

To me this gives an energy to the composition as if the main subject is bursting out of the frame. I think that this image is a great example of what Stephen Shore and John Szarkowski were talking about in their, separate, writings about the frame in photographs (see my learning points from their books The Nature of Photographs and The Photographer’s Eye – click on the Books Category in the right hand menu). The frame is an integral part of the photograph and what is excluded is as important as what is included.

The curves of the tree and reflection also give a sense of movement to the image. The choise of viewpoint is also of interest with the tree bisecting the two sets of trees in the near background and the mass of those trees to the right of the main subject counterbalanced by the mass of the two hills to the left of the picture in the far background.

A wonderful image where the great thought given to composition, framing and subject all contribute immensely to the final image.

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