Isolating Content Through Vertical Perspective

We don’t just see the same old things most of the time, we see them from the same old angle: horizontally, from eye level. Sometimes all that is needed to provide a new perspective is… err… a new perspective.


A marching band may not be a daily experience, but many of us have shot enough parades to find it a challenging subject  to find a new expression for. And then there is the issue of isolating the band, from the bystanders, from the street clutter, or in this shot, from the Tuscan landscape which is at least as interesting as the musicians. There is also the issue of permissions; one way to isolate the musicians is to shoot closeups with a long lens, which tends to produce something closer to portraits than a group shot, and which makes the individuals clearly recognizable, limiting some of the possible uses of the images.


The shot above is… well… shot from above. Its a simple technique, though one that requires forethought, or else good fortune to achieve. Notice how it consolidates the band, forms a clean abstract of them with little else but the paving to compete for our attention. And at the same time is eliminates the musicians faces, so the image is not limited in use by lack of release forms. In this instance, all that was required was to risk hanging somewhat too far out a second story window (third story to Americans), to get the clean shot from above. Drones are making this angle far more common in photography, but it is one worth considering even without flying gear.

C. David Tobie


2 responses to “Isolating Content Through Vertical Perspective

  1. When I was studying the history of art, a viewpoint made from a high vantage point looking down was called “Aerial perspective”.


    • Great to here from you Ellis. Yes, we used that term in art history and architecture as well, but to describe an angular downward view, instead of a vertical one. That’s the distinction I’m trying to make here: a near vertical view.

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