Upside Down and Turned Around


These week's photography challenge on was "Get Low". I'd literally just been playing with an "Upside Down" challenge for the Photography Scavenger Hunt the day before and so decided to re-try my technique from that and combine it with putting the camera at a low angle.

Basically the set up is to take a portrait of someone upside down, but then rotate the resulting image 180 degrees so that the upside down portrait now looks the right way up. I love the slightly 'off' and peculiar results. At first glance nothing might seem  untoward, but then you might spot something about the image that doesn't quite seem normal, like catch lights in the bottom of the eye instead of the top or lighting on the underside of the feet. 

At this low angle you can achieve some interesting reflections in the floor if you happen to have polished concrete to play with. The disadvantage for the portrait subject is that you have to strain your head to see the lens and this results in deep frown lines on your forehead.  You can play with this technique with a camera at a higher angle to diminish those furrows,  but the change in angle will capture the body differently. The best thing to do is experiment until you get something that pleases or amuses you. But remember, it's not easy being upside down! In fact it's quite awkward. Case in point – watch this time lapse video showing me in the process of capturing self portraits whilst making this very shot:


My vision was to be wearing a skirt or dress for this shot, but that's no simple feat because most fabrics would simply fall to the subject's waist risking exposure of their nether regions or underwear. I happen to still have the childhood ballet dress my mother made for me when I was in my early teens which has a very stiff net underskirt that somewhat holds it's shape. The dress doesn't actually quite fit me any more but I was able to utilize it for this particular setup with having to do up the fasteners on the back. Another solution when experimenting with being upside down would be to wear trousers,  pants, or perhaps even a swimsuit for the brave. But just remember, that gravity can do unexpected things to your body shape. Don't say I didn't warn you!

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