October 26, 2009

Photo of the Week: Oct. 27, 2009

HOW I GOT THE SHOT: Olives are one of my favorite foods. Although this photograph exaggerates the real size of my subject, I wish they were all this big, what the marketing geniuses have termed "Super Mammoth!" Fall is olive harvest time in Israel, where the most widespread method of collection remains whacking the branches with a stick and collecting the fallen fruit on a net or blanket. This activity helps burn a few calories that will certainly be regained when the olives are fermented and eaten.

I approached this photograph in the same manner as I would a portrait. The fruit itself is similar in shape to a human head, and I looked for a way to sculpt its features by finding a single source of light coming from any direction other than directly from the camera. Because I couldn't move the light - in this case the sun - I circled the tree until I found a pleasing angle and then searched out the best specimen to photograph. It may seem counterintuitive to look for light before a subject, but the word photography comes from the Greek words "photos," meaning light and "graphein," meaning to write. Photography, then, is writing with light. I doubt anyone would attempt any writing project without first locating the best pen available.