A Closer Look at This Image
First of all it has a unique perspective—how often do we get to see a rail yard from above like this? Secondly, just look
at those lines and colours; wow. Let’s take a closer look at why this is such a
In some ways, you might say this photo lacks composition: where’s the main
focal point? I think it works not just in spite of this, but because of it. I
don’t know about you, but my eyes don’t rest anywhere, they’re constantly
scanning about for points of interest and, because of that, I seem to find
something new every time I look at it.
The colours work really well here, the photographer has done
a great job of picking them out whilst avoiding an oversaturated, primary
colour explosion which might have made the image look like something you’d hang
on a child’s bedroom wall, rather than the grittier look it actually has.
Shooting from above like this makes the subject matter appear
a lot smaller than it is. For me, it also completely changes how we’d usually
see these objects. Trains tend to conjure up the idea of movement but the
rolling stock here, does the opposite—they’re all hemmed in like files in a
The layout, with the straight lines and occasional
gaps, actually reminds me of an old blocks video game, like Tetris. Along with
the colours, this makes it a more playful image and that contrasts nicely with
the busy, industrial, commercial feel.
There are a few things that make this image slightly
uncomfortable, the first is that carriages get chopped part way through, but
that would be unavoidable in a composition like this. The second is what I
think is a light in the bottom left stands out, as does the red crane in the
top right. That’s not necessarily a bad thing; it does break up the photo and
give your eyes something to land on for a little while.
Reading a Photograph
We’d love to hear your take on this photograph, and if you’re not sure where to begin, then, How to Read a Photograph will get you started with how to analyse photography. Mostly it’s just saying what you see and how you feel about an image!