wide angle vs telephoto: not just a matter of perspective

there are problems with photography. there are problems with everything of course, but one cannot do, as thoreau so effectively put it, EVERYTHING. that is not what i intend to ever do. but since photography is part of the above mentioned everything, i felt that this preceding disclaimer should be made.

the wide-angle approach, taken casually, is to include a very large area of things and put it all in perspective, with the option of highlighting things close to us, while de-emphasisizing things that are farther away. this is an interesting approach, but if used inappropriately, can render everything that you are putting into the frame as insignificant, while highlighting your own feet that somehow managed to creep into the frame. this is especially true when you’re looking down at something. another thing about wide-angles is that tehy are most fun the closer you can get. the more you sacrifice your, and your subject;s personal space, the more you get.

the telephoto approach, again taken casually, is to isolate an element out of everything and either distinguish it from it’s surroundings or to show how it actually blends in. you get the option, with the telephoto, of completely removing context and starkly or endearingly examining the subject. it is notorious for being able to hide unpleasantness that may be lurking in the background or otherwise disturb the notion being presented. telephotos almost require you to maintain a significant distance, detaching you somewhat but also giving you

as human beings, and sometimes as artists, we have to make these choices. i am primarily(as you may notice from the majority of photos and some of my posts) a wide-angle type of guy. i like the ‘everythingness’ of the view, which is comfortable to me. i dont leave out anything. but by doing so, i again put myself at a disadvantage. i do not control any significant portion of the frame. not even close. i enjoy being out of control at times no doubt, but the composition, she suffers. and i must pay attention to such aesthetic details or else i would not be much of a photographer in the long run.

but could i be a telephoto type of guy? i have been trying these few days to restrict myself to a narrower field of view. it offers a significant change. i dont often use the lens outdoors, or generally outside studios or where i need to use it. it’s not easy, let me tell you that. adjustments are difficult, especially with focussing.