Photo Appraisal: Chattel House
November 2, 2015
Photo: Chattel House
Taken by: Glyn Hopping
Nikon D800, 24-120mm
Glyn tells us that he got up early one morning to photograph these chattel houses (small moveable timber huts) in Barbados. He shot it early for the low-angled light that he wanted, to show off the texture of the wood. And he must have been pleased because the light does indeed show off the texture of the wood, and defines the shapes of the houses rather well.
These buildings were used to house sugar plantation workers, and they dismantle to be moved around. But I only know that because Glyn told me in the information he sent with his images; a viewer certainly wouldn’t know that from looking at the picture.
I do know that the houses are somewhere tropical because I can see palm trees, and I can see a bit of bush so we are probably somewhere in the countryside. However, to get sense of the history of these houses, or at least their environment, we need a bit more information – which means including more of their surroundings in the picture.
Glyn has got too close and leaves us too much to guess. Photographers very often do this, and pressurise themselves to fill the frame with what has caught their eye. However, we sometimes need to step back a little, to see the bigger picture.
Close up, these are nicely lit sheds – well photographed, but out of context.