Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Wonky horizons - why?

I happened upon this gallery and photographer through the online magazine Exit which I find really helpful when looking for inspiration. But what is it with this photographer, Juergen Teller's recent exhibition at the Lehmann Maupin Gallery.  Don't get me wrong I really like his work and find it intriguing and interesting.   However, with his current exhibition which is taken in a museum, his whole set of images are wonky!  Does he not have the horizon tool in photoshop!! I'm being facetious. I am guessing this is considered and intended.  But why would you do that?  Is it to create tension or interest?  The angle of 'wonkiness' is actually consistent throughout his set of images. It is off-kilter sufficiently for the viewer to notice and to give the viewer the impression it is intended.  But I just don't know why?  Why would you intentionally want wonky horizons in a photo which is full of lines, patterns and angles.  

Any answers on a postcard to . . .  


  1. I don't think its just a 'twist' as such, I think the plane of the camera is also being altered to add a sense of depth to the images. For example in LM12613 we 'know' that the four column figures are the same size but the lines from the floor below and the balcony above are not parallel (as they would be with a simple twist), instead they converge to the right, implying that the right hand side of the camera was closer to the subject. This introduces what is often termed diminishing perspective which gives the (2D) image some feeling of depth. LM12602, the display case, is perhaps an even clearer example. Of course you could do this without the added twist, but then some images, say LM12611 would have a somewhat 'static' composition. I suspect that for consistency across the set of images this positioning of the camera has been applied to each subject, even if one of the two angular effects is more relevant than the other.

  2. Thanks Duncan for taking the time to look through them and reply. Your response is really helpful and observant. I hadn't considered this. I'm still not sure what I think about the perspective but it's useful trying to work out why he did it!