Dog day afternoon


April 15, 2014

The Nikon-Walkley Awards for Excellence in Photojournalism are a national awards program recognising the work of photographers across a range of genres. Curtin University photojournalism student Daniel Goerke recently reviewed his favourite photograph from the 2013 winners’ exhibition which was in Perth recently.

Bella, an 18-month-old Collie cross, exuberantly attacks the water from a garden hose on a steamy summer’s day in North Queensland.

Have you ever imagined yourself in the moment of a particular photograph? Did it lead you to ponder the what was going on in that instant, and what was to follow?

The pictured photograph by Nikon-Walkley Community/Regional prize winner Marc McCormack instils just that.

McCormack has framed the shot – equipped with what appears to be a standard zoom lens – placing positional importance on the dog and in turn emphasising her movement and facial expression.

With a fast shutter speed, presumably set close to 1/1000 of a second, McCormack manages to pause time, focusing on the sharpness and detail of the water droplets themselves and building a sense of drama.

Cleverly constructed and coupled with this is the conventional integration of the rule of thirds. The garden hose watering gun forms a column in the first vertical third of the shot, Bella creates a second column in the second third, and the after-effect of the water splash a third column in the final third. Each vertical third works with the other to create a causal relationship where all elements of the image are heightened to capture the essence of the moment.

McCormack has intentionally left what is perceived to be the owner of the Collie cross out of the frame, further strengthening the focal point of the image.

With no hierarchical angles involved (instead being taken at eye-level), a connection between Bella and the viewer is established; something that can be viewed in contrast to the way we normally see our canine companions (i.e. from a high angle).

Bella appears instantly refreshed, energetically jumping for joy at the sign of water. Through her, we experience a degree of joy ourselves.

Photograph: Marc McCormack/The Cairns Post/The Walkley Foundation

Categories: Media

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