Diorama and Silhouettes

Diorama and Silhouettes, Natural History Museum - Los Angeles, California

Diorama and Silhouettes, Natural History Museum – Los Angeles, California

Combining the concepts from the last two posts, here are two photos of families silhouetted against the wildlife dioramas at the Los Angeles Museum of Natural History.

Back when I started my serious photography over a decade ago, I disliked the concept of not seeing all the details. Thus, I was big into HDR, which pulled from the shadows and tamed bright areas. It created hyper-real photos, which can appear too over the top when over-processed. HDR technology has gone mainstream, being automatically incorporated into smartphone photos. Ironically, I rarely use HDR now, opting to use shadows as a creative element.

I’m now perfectly comfortable and actually love creating silhouettes. I’ve realized that photography is not — in most cases — about capturing the scene accurately. Instead, it’s more about capturing the concept, the idea, of a scene. Thus, with a silhouette, it’s obvious that a family is looking at the diorama. Even if we see none of their detail.

Wildlife Diorama, Natural History Museum - Los Angeles, California

I’ve executed these pictures differently. The first one focuses on the diorama. The second, on the family. You can tell by the difference in sharpness of the silhouettes and background. There is no correct approach. Though, in retrospect, I like the first picture better. Focusing on the diorama.

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