Hilarious guide to a wide variety of creative ways to botch your photos. For every way, and various combinations, the author provides examples from his family album, as well as detailed instructions on how to create each particular effect. As a bonus he delivers an artistic critique of each type of photo.
In the technical part of the book we encounter such old favourites as fuzzy, over- / underexposed or ill-framed photos – including the popular road-photo, but also highlights such as the thumb-snap or the discoloured photo.
The more challenging chapters on subject matter provide insight into how to create empty, crowded or confused photos. A dedicated chapter explains how to ruin portraits. My particular favourites are the photo-triste (sad) and photo-camouflage.
While I cannot claim to be a master of the botched photo, I consider myself a gifted amateur, and humbly present my own examples for a select few of these techniques, in particular of my own specialty, the fuzzy photo. With a minimum of practice, I’m sure you too will be able to produce such results.
Of course – despite all my best efforts – I sometimes produce photos that have a discernible subject in the frame that is in focus and properly lit.
Nobody is perfect.
(Click on image for carousel view.)
Fuzzy – out of focus. This beautiful impressionistic landscape is achieved by using the “flower” macro setting to shoot a group of trees.
Fuzzy – out of focus. Focus on something in the background and shoot. As the photographer singles out a particular plant for the starring role, all the others seem to be shouting: why not me? An inimitable comment on our modern times.
Fuzzy – moving object. In this case the effect is achieved by photographing in a moving vehicle (tram). Overexposure adds to the abstract charm of the result.
Fuzzy – insufficient light. The secret to this, as many other ways of botching photos is eternal optimism that any conditions will do. Notice how the sea monsters appear to be moving, impatient with their stone prison.
Lighting – underexposed. Make sure to have objects of widely varying brightness in your frame. The result is a beautiful crispness, an almost B/W effect.
Lighting – backlit. Point camera directly at the sun.
Special cases – discolouration. My camera can do that all by itself.
Special cases – discoloration (2).
Framing – the road photo. Snap out of window of moving vehicle to produce a photo devoid of interest.
Framing – the lost photo. Shoot a distant and partially obscured object. Beautifully expresses the disorientation and bewilderment of man in our complex world.
Intervening objects – Trees. Achieved by shooting out of a train window. A tantalizing glimpse of the view we cannot see. The green stripes throw the fleetingness of the moment into relief. The castle’s essential quality – immobility – is beautifully captured.
Mood – the sad photo. Achieved here by flat lighting (overcast moment).
This masterpiece exudes a profound sense of desolation.
The photo of absence. An apparently deserted world.
Expresses deep fatigue at the essential meaninglessness of life.
Photo camouflage, the crowded photo. With so many things in the frame, it remains a mystery what the intended subject of the picture was. Many spots of bright colours defy any attempt to make sense of the image.
The confused photo. A photo does not need to be crowded or empty to make it unclear what the subject is. The tranquil scene and its decaying boundaries join to create a peaceful melancholy.
The confused photo (2).
The rhythmic horizontals leave us to ponder what was going on in the photographer’s mind. A near-abstract masterpiece.