Digital editing tools make it easy to remove unwanted artefacts from photos, and erasing power lines from scenic shots is one of the most common strategies. Before you start blending and deleting, however, bear in mind that those same elements can also be used to add drama and structure to your photos.I was reminded of this on a visit to the Bendigo Art Gallery to check out American Dreams, a collection of photographs drawn from the 400,000-image George Eastman House collection. The iconic image ‘US 93 Kingman Arizona’ by Stephen Shore came with a note that the non-natural features in the photo added to its impact rather than detracting from it:
Points of interest are created with bold vertical lines and shapes delineated by electricity poles and cement blocks.
The next time you’re shooting a landscape and start cursing out power cables ruining your view to the horizon, try reframing the shot to take advantage of them. At best, you’ll get a striking and unusual photo; at worst, you’ll end up doing some editing, but you will have given more thought to the composition.