Quick Photography Project: The Great Fun in Juxtaposition (with Tips & Examples)

Kent DuFault
Kent DuFault

New / Noteworthy

NOTE: This is a photography project taken from the Action Cards set. For more, take a look here – Learn Photography Through Projects

Total Time: 2-3 Hours

Skill Points:

  • Discovering how
    juxtaposition works and why
  • Learning how to apply juxtaposition into your
    compositions

"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.

Israeli Men

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.

Action Assignment

  1. Organize a photo shoot where you will go in search of juxtaposition. Try to find a minimum of 10.
  2. In each photograph that you create,  incorporate two elements that are either in physical, emotional, or artistic contrast to each other.
  3. Try different angles. Particularly look for the “Old & New” and the “Big & Small” juxtaposition photos.
  4. 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?

BONUS: I've got something special for you on the next page...

The above content is taken from our hugely popular Action Cards – printable project sheets that will give you over 200 photography assignments, covering everything you can imagine. You can see the Complete Photography Action Card collection below:

If you enjoyed the above assignment and would like to know more about this project-based photography learning tool, do take a look at the Action Cards here.

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About Kent DuFault

About Kent DuFault

Kent DuFault became a photographer in September of 1974. He took a “Basic Photography” class in high school and was hooked for life. His best-selling product, The Printable Action Cards have helped thousands of photographers worldwide learn photography through a unique, project-based learning system.

Who is Photzy™ ?

Great question! Photzy.com is an online photography school with a focus on simple, practical tips and tutorials, for beginners. Founded in 2012, we’ve grown to a small team of photography enthusiasts from all over the world, teaching over 200,000 students from 180 countries. No matter where your current skill level is, we’d like to help you explore your unique creative side, through photography!

“At Photzy, we believe EVERYONE is creative, and that photography is the best way to explore and share your creative side with the world.”