Having the ability to ‘zoom in’ allows you to focus in on areas of a frame / scene.
To me this means seeing “Scenes within scenes” – almost like Ex 1.2 – Point, where the image was composed within just one section of the frame, or Ex 1.43 – Line, where using lines to flatten images creates a completely different, possibly abstract photograph to one that was at a wider angle to give context.
I wanted to explore this idea of an scene within a scene, or an image within an image. A few examples sprang to mind.
I was able to take this giant image, and select frames within it to create different images. The level of zoom increased the image quality decreased, but over all I think it demonstrates the concept of an image within an image well. This also demonstrates what was mentioned in the text within the examples of Blade Runner and Blow Up, where the images lose their resolution beyond recognition as they are enlarged.
I especially liked the two latter scenes; the 5 way roundabout zoomed in to create an image of the oblivious pedestrians, and the city landscaped zoomed in to a small landscaped area, creating some interesting lines the two solitary subjects, created from an image that would have originally contained tens of thousands of people.
These books are famous for hiding mini scenes within one giant scene. Since I was a kid I have loved looking through for the little scenes, often providing more entertainment than finding Wally himself. Many of these are humorous, and although Wally is clearly meant to be the main subject of each image, he’s easily lost in the busyness of a very hectic double page spread. While this may be the purpose of a photograph, to disguise, it’s also important to think about not doing this if not the original intention.
This Where’s Wally image reminded me of the below photo by Chis Steele-Perkins. Multiple things happening within one image on the beach. Any one of these scenes could have been ‘zoomed in on’ to create an image in itself, but Steele-Perkins chose to include them all in one frame making for what I feel is a much more interesting image. However, had Steele-Perkins shot an ultra wide photograph of the busy beach as a whole much like the Where’s Wally above, I think the impact of this photograph – and therefore these ‘scenes’ – would have been lost entirely.
In the absence of crowds due to the pandemic I shot the series of focal lengths as outlined in the text based on an alleyway near my house.
This wasn’t anywhere near as fun and rewarding as creating images based on the concept above could have been but still demonstrated the ability to move through a scene using a telephoto lens to zoom in.
Find a scene that has depth. From a fixed position, take a sequence of five or six shots at different focal lengths without changing your viewpoint. (You might like to use the specific focal lengths indicated on the lens barrel.) As you page through the shots on the preview screen it almost feels as though you’re moving through the scene. So the ability to change focal lengths has an obvious use: rather than physically move towards or away from your subject, the lens can do it for you. But zooming is also a move towards abstraction, which, as the word itself tells us, is the process of ‘drawing things away’ from their context.