Total Time: 2-3 Hours
- Discovering how
juxtaposition works and why
- Learning how to apply juxtaposition into your
"Juxtaposition means two things side-by-side..."
Juxtaposition means two things side-by-side. In artwork, juxtaposition is created with the intent of demonstrating a particular quality, or creating a subconscious effect. This is typically accomplished when the two elements are contrasting or opposing in nature.
Key Lesson: If the two elements are physical objects, they must each have enough visual strength that a viewer’s mind makes the connection and examines the contrast. If the juxtaposition is meant to create a concept, mood, or statement this is more difficult, as a viewer must identify the juxtaposition and also process where the contrast occurs.
Study the example photographs below.
Old & New
Juxtaposing something old and new is a classic photographer’s tool. If you’re just starting with juxtaposition, this is a great subject matter to explore, as it’s a bit easier to find and compose for beginners.
Big & Small
Juxtaposing something big and small is also a classic photographer’s tool. If you’re just starting with juxtaposition, this is another great subject matter to explore, as it is also a bit easier to spot and compose for beginners.
Resting at the Gym
Irony is often used with juxtaposition in photography. The difficulty here is that not all individuals see irony the same way- just as we don’t all find the same things funny. Develop your own style of irony and just go with it.
Land & Water
Juxtaposition does not have to be complicated. The technique lends itself well to Minimalism. The opposition captured in juxtaposition can be as simple as land and water.
Juxtaposition is an important tool for street photography and photojournalism. It can be used to make strong social and political statements. When trying to photograph this type of work- look for both sides of the story composed in a single shot.
- Organize a photo shoot where you will go in search of juxtaposition. Try to find a minimum of 10.
- In each photograph that you create, incorporate two elements that are either in physical, emotional, or artistic contrast to each other.
- Try different angles. Particularly look for the “Old & New” and the “Big & Small” juxtaposition photos.
- Print your best of each shot and share them with others. Ask them if they understand your intent.
How Did You Do?
- Did you find 10 juxtapositions in your afternoon shoot?
- Were others able to discern your intent with your juxtaposition shots?
- In what ways do you believe that you could have made your results better?
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