Art of Photography

Rob Townsend

Exercise: Evidence of action



Produce one photograph in which it can be seen that something has happened. As a suggestion, include in the photograph something that has been either broken, or emptied.


Empty wine bottle

Empty wine bottle

What I aimed to get across here is not simply that a wine bottle has been emptied, but the context in which this happened. Two glasses, subdued lighting, hint of candlelight, jaunty angle implying participants are slightly tipsy… I was trying to conjure up the image of a couple enjoying a romantic night in. My intent was to get across not simply that the wine-drinking had happened, but furthermore that the evening had happened.

What I’ve learned:

This was an interesting exercise. I wanted to go beyond simply showing a broken object / empty vessel and put more thought than I usually do into working through elements of the image that would convey the message (or more the mood) that I wanted to get across to the viewer. The constraint of getting this across in a single image is making me think more about the intent I have in mind when I first visualise then realise the image.


The second part of this exercise was to think about examples of symbolism used in advertising to depict abstract concepts.

These are the examples I came up with:

  • Bravery, fearlessness (e.g. in investing) – Barclays example using lion
  • Solidity, toughness – Mitsubishi ad featuring a rhino
  • Fuel economy – VW ads showing clever examples of how long a car can go between trips to the petrol station
  • Sexual activity – a Durex condom ad showing a broken bed, a Viagra ad showing a very tired elderly woman at a bus stop in the morning
  • Speed – Audi ad featuring a cheetah
  • Authority – numerous examples of people (usually men) in white lab coats
  • Online security – universal symbol is the padlock

2 thoughts on “Exercise: Evidence of action

  1. Hi Rob
    Can’t open the pics on this exercise (is it me). Also, are you interested in the Leeds photographic Group meeting on sunday 23rd Feb, meet at entrance to Leeds Rail Station 10.00am for a walk along the waterfront regeneration area. If you need directions ring me on 07970174613.

    • Hi Mal, hope you’re well. There’s only one photo in this exercise, but if you can’t see that, something’s gone wrong somewhere. I’ll check it on a few other devices!

      Regarding 23rd Feb — sounds good but I’m pretty sure I already have some kind of day out arranged with the missus — she’s the social secretary in this house and likes to make sure we’re kept busy on a Sunday :-)

      I’ll check though, and let you know if I can join the meet after all.



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