February 3, 2019

Closely related to looking and including something else in the composition is juxtaposition. Juxtaposition happens when there are two or more elements in a scene that contrast with each other, or there could be one element that contributes towards the other. Combined they can create a new theme. Those elements could be anything and to see them you have to keep looking, keep thinking. Is there something that you can connect?

To go looking for this may not be the best way to success. Juxtaposition usually happens when you recognize it. It takes you by surprise. It is all about observation.

To achieve this you need at least two points of interest.

Bangkok 2010

The person on the bench is on its own not terribly interesting, but because of the background this changes completely. The contrasts that I chose to capture were most probably not realistic at all. But we can easily relate to them. Very likely the woman was just having a rest.
I noticed the advertisement behind her and in my mind I made connection of a badly odored drifter and deodorant. And a juxtaposition was born.

The next image was sheer coincidence and luck. 15 seconds after taking the first one the sweeper appeared and add a second sense of cleaning.
So it was my choice to chose the two things to relate to each other, even though the reality was different.

Hanoi 2005

A not very unusual sight of someone sleeping on the streets. This is a 100% realistic juxtaposition, where the dog contributes to the woman.

Hanoi 2006

Hoi An 2016

Taken by smart phone. This woman runs a small eatery where people have breakfast. I pass this place on the morning tours and this time there was this big photo of a married couple. The connection I make here is that at first the couple is happily married. The woman is full of expectations and dreams, but on the right side we can see the harsh reality of someone washing the dishes, all dreams shattered.

The big print shows additional meanings. The lines starting at the head of the woman first rise, as if the sky is the limit. But soon the dreams end and come crashing down. This feeling is amplified by the decay of the poster. Decay which becomes worse down the line.
This juxtaposition is more about story-telling. I made it up, but it is a story nonetheless.

Juxtaposition will improve your photography, as it stimulates you to think further. It makes you a better photographer and you will end up with images which are more interesting and sometimes hilarious.

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