It’s a specified or stated manner of consideration or appraisal; it’s an opinion, judgement, attitude; and it’s the position of the narrator in relation to the story, as indicated by the narrator outlook from which the events are depicted and by the attitude toward the characters.
In photography the POV (point of view) is one of the first critical questions that the photographer should answer because it establishes the relationship between the subject of the photograph with the viewer. As the Russian photographer Alexey Brodovitch had written “The picture represents the feelings and the point of view of the intelligence behind the camera” (Creative Camera February 1972, p.472).
Photography has a decision-making process. In every step of this procedure you are obliged to make a choice. Choosing the place you will stand or set your camera is a crucial decision for start; it delimits the canvas of the photograph and defines the beginning of our visual narration. It’s the point that we choose to see and understand things and the place, where we will discover (or not discover) a unique and creative perspective.
Instead of capturing scenes from eye level, we could put the camera on the top of something and look down. Or, set the camera on the ground and look up. Or, we can choose bizarre points like holes, gaps, doors, windows, reflected surfaces to uncover an unnatural perspective. One of my favourite photographers and talented street photographer, Vivian Maier, had captured stunning and so creative self-portraits by photographing mirrors and reflected surfaces in the street.
The American theatre critic Brooks Atkison had referred to the settled point of view as a fatal illusion. “Since life’s growth and motion, a fixed point kills anybody who has one”. And, using the same boring standpoint without experimenting could metaphorically “kill” and literally destroy the possibilities of our photos!
○ “Point of view” photography: how to shoot first – person lifestyle shots on digitalcameraworld.com
○ What’s your point of view? A guide for photographers on lightstalking.com