Art of Photography

Rob Townsend

Exercise: Rain



Create a magazine cover on one subject: rain. You have the entire cover space to work in, and you should produce a single, strong, attractive photograph that leaves no one in doubt about the subject. This is first an exercise in imagination, not always easy, and second an exercise in producing a photograph to a specification.


Rain Magazine Cover

Rain Magazine Cover

I thought about this for a few days, and looked at the work of other students. Last time an exercise required shooting in the rain, I found it quite a difficult thing to do well. So this time around I tried to think more creatively. What kind of image of rain would be interesting enough to grace the cover of a magazine?

I decided early on to go for humour. One phrase that’s been used a lot to describe the recent extreme wet weather is “biblical”, clearly alluding to the story of Noah’s Ark. Not having access to pairs of real-life animals, I fell back on toys from a farmyard play set. Rather than waiting for a real downpour (and risking my equipment) I faked the rain with a watering can. I know the exercise is predominantly about the photographic imagery, but I felt that the light-hearted treatment deserved a pun headline…

What I’ve learned:

As per the last exercise with the book cover, I found this interesting, but am not sure that such graphic design-led layout work is really my forte. I am however happy with the photograph itself, and I am satisfied that it meets the brief. It alludes to very heavy rain by way of a known allegory (animals two-by-two = Noah’s Ark = heavy flooding = RAIN!) and as long as the viewer makes that cultural-symbolic association then the message gets across.

This exercise has furthered my interest in, and my increasing experience of, pre-visualisation. I had in mind the image of the animals in pairs, with focus on the front pair and shallow DoF to imply them trailing off into the distance. The actualised image is pretty close to how I saw it in my head.


4 thoughts on “Exercise: Rain

  1. Love it!! Having had rain on 106 out of the last 110 days here you may be onto something with the ark thoughts!

  2. Glad you like it! You shouldn’t be short of material when you get to this exercise then ;-)

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