Saturday, September 13, 2008

40 Photographs Taken at the Exact Right Angle

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They say timing is everything, but some photographs (such as these) become brilliant or hilarious because both the timing and the angle work out just right. Sometimes this means catching people or objects lined up perfectly at the ideal moment. Other times these are staged for maximum effect. Here are 20 examples of photos taken at the exact right angle.

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Illusions of Distance: These can be anything from poetic to comedic or even crass, as the above images demonstrate. Almost always such shots are staged, but sometimes in public you might catch just the right elements in alignment to create an accidental masterpiece of art or humor.

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Impossible People and Animals: these can be silly or sublime, depending upon the subject, but almost inevitably result in a confused double-take. We all know what people can and can’t do, how they are built, what the limits of the human body are, yet some images challenge the brain and create illusions.

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The Art of Juxtaposition: a set of objects, people and/or animals behaving normally independently can take on a new life entirely when properly juxtaposed in a picture. What might seem like very ordinary behavior, from grabbing a magazine to stretching for a job, can take on a new and strange meaning when captured on film from just the right angle.

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What is the most critical element to taking amazing photographs? There are a number of candidates including lighting, focus, timing and camera type, but one device has been at the heart of producing some of the funniest and strangest pictures around: proper angle. Sorted into three categories, here are some awesome examples of images taken at just the right angle! If you enjoy these, you may want to look at the others in the series: 20 Photos at the Exact Right Angle and 25 Photos at the Exact Right Time. These also follow in the rich tradition of The 7 Giants in the Streets and The Amazing Little People of London.

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Illusions of Overlap: perhaps the most common trick, usually used to comic effect in perfect-angled photographs, is the use of overlap to create an illusion of an impossible, unlikely or entirely strange set of circumstances. These kinds of images are easy to stage, it’s catching candid ones or creating compellingly staged ones that is the real challenge.

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Unusual Moments in Time: sometimes a photograph taken at just the right angle and time takes advantage of the peculiarity of a circumstance, such as a man at an intersection with an uncommonly relaxed dog or a worker in a hole with a pudding-covered spoon. Focus is critical, with the first image capturing the expressions of curious bystanders and the latter revolving around the hat and spoon.

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Juxtaposition of the Similar: catching similar objects or like poses can create chance relationships between apparently completely different kinds of options, connecting them across scale, material and purpose in curious and comical ways. What’s your favorite? Know of others that would fit in the mix? For more fun images, check out WallStreetFighterDeputyDog and WebUrbanist.

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