Green Spaghetti

Have you ever worked in a chaotic location where you aren’t quite sure where to start? Ian Plant uses the example of a rain forest to offer some advice on how to approach such situations

Weird name for the title of a photography article, right? Well, here’s the back story. Once, when leading a photo workshop in the Olympic Peninsula of Washington State, I brought my students to one of the temperate rain forests common in the area, and set them loose to explore their personal artistic visions. After several hours, one of my clients – in a moment of complete confusion and frustration – shook his head and remarked “I don’t know what to do with this, it’s like green spaghetti.” Best description of the rain forest I’ve ever heard.

I brought my students to that location for two reasons. One: the rain forest is incredibly beautiful. Two: there is nothing quite like total chaos to teach you how to make great photos. When working in a cluttered environment like the rain forests of the Pacific northwest, you need to work extra hard to make sense of things. Photography, in many ways, is the art of finding artistic order from visual chaos by learning how to be selective with composition and moment. Mostly it is learning what to include and exclude from the picture frame, but it is also...

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About Author


Ian Plant is a full time professional nature photographer, writer, and adventurer. His work has appeared in numerous magazines, books and calendars, and he is a frequent contributor to Popular Photography and Outdoor Photographer magazines, among others.

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