Sad Loo

Sad Loo

By |2013-03-21T08:49:59+00:00Mar 19th, 2013|

Yesterday, I wrote about the importance of having a foreground element within a landscape/seascape photo. This anchor serves as a start and end point for the viewer’s eyes and gives them a place to rest. The same principle is held true for this sort of UrbEx scene. When Amy Heiden and I broke off to make our images here, it became immediately apparent that there would be a lot of chaos going on.

Now, chaos without rhyme or reason is exactly that – chaotic. However, when there is methodology and intent, controlled chaos can be represented beautifully in photo. This loo is a perfect example. There is oh-so-much going on here and it’d be supremely easy to get lost in everything. However, I noticed the frowny face on the center stall door and used it as my focal point, placing it dead center in the frame. Couple that with appropriate stylization/vignetting and you now have a point of focus. Your eye will naturally go to the sharpest and brightest part of the frame and then explore beyond that.

So next time you find yourself photographing chaos,
remain calm and find your methodology.

In terms of processing
This is a seven exposure tone-mapped HDR image using Photomatix Pro. I stylized using a split-tone in Lightroom 4.3’s Develop module and then refined to taste.


  1. Nicole S. Young March 19, 2013 at 9:17 am - Reply

    I know why it's sad.

  2. Alice DaU March 19, 2013 at 9:20 am - Reply

    Excellent advice. Thank you for sharing. I appreciate the opportunity to learn.

  3. Alice DaU March 19, 2013 at 9:22 am - Reply

    BTW, the photo series is stunning. :-D

  4. CoachRyan SportsPhotography March 19, 2013 at 9:24 am - Reply

    Love it!

  5. Aaron Hockley March 19, 2013 at 9:26 am - Reply

    Waiting for the grungy #bathroomselfie  here…

  6. Michael Riffle March 19, 2013 at 9:39 am - Reply

    I've used worse.

  7. Chris Smith March 19, 2013 at 10:12 am - Reply

    Awesome lines and angles!

  8. Matt Macias March 19, 2013 at 10:18 am - Reply

    Sweet, I like the processing!

  9. telvis jenkins March 19, 2013 at 11:24 am - Reply

    The beauty

  10. Deana Lamb March 19, 2013 at 11:56 am - Reply

    Beauty in The Break Down~Thank you for your Sharing Brian!!!

  11. Russell Lord March 19, 2013 at 2:59 pm - Reply

    In two-dimensional works of art, such as painting, printmaking, photography or bas-relief, repoussoir is an object along the right or left foreground that directs the viewer's eye into the composition by bracketing (framing) the edge. It became popular with Mannerist and Baroque artists, and is found frequently in Dutch seventeenth-century landscape paintings. Jacob van Ruisdael, for example, often included a tree along one side to enclose the scene (see illustration). Figures are also commonly employed as repoussoir devices by artists such as Paolo Veronese, Peter Paul Rubens (see illustration) and Impressionists such as Gustave Caillebotte (see illustration).

  12. Gary Rea March 19, 2013 at 3:03 pm - Reply

    Just your typical interstate service station men's room. ;)

  13. Sue-Ann van-Cuylenburg March 19, 2013 at 9:20 pm - Reply

    What a fantastic tip! Thank you so much +Brian Matiash, my photography is advancing in leaps and bounds, thanks to you :-)

  14. Luis March 25, 2013 at 4:04 am - Reply

    An amazing Urbex scene, great composition and treatment!

  15. Axel Flasbarth March 27, 2013 at 2:31 am - Reply

    Interesting, thanks! Funnily, my eyes wandered immediately to the loo. I didn't really see your face/focal point untik much, much later. I guess you also need a strong form for a good focal point. High brightness might not suffice.

  16. Brett Cox March 27, 2013 at 10:07 am - Reply

    Oh how I wish I could +1 Nicole’s comment.

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