Picture This: Between Places

ThelmaPhotography49 Comments


In response to a recent outcry for more photos, I’ve decided to do a weekly column on how to make your camera work for you. Each week we’ll have a little lesson plus a photo assignment (if you’re up for it!) with an opportunity to share your photos afterward. This week, our theme is “between places.”

This was taken at a Catholic mass service in Hanoi, Vietnam. There were so many people in attendance that night that people spilled out onto the square out front and we were forced to stand in a small closet throughout the service.

Since we’re all new here, let’s not get carried away just yet with camera settings or too much technique. I only want you to do two things when you take your photo: get close and think about what you want to say. For example, this picture in a church where I basically attended from a closet. The bars on the window convey that something clandestine is going on, when it’s actuality just a regular church service. An interesting twist to this photo is the Vietnamese government’s restrictions on churches, which has led many people to take their religion underground and, quite literally, attend illegally. This church happens to be one of the few legal ones in Hanoi but, even so, being behind the bars reminds us that religion is not a freedom many people enjoy around the world.

Or maybe "between" means getting stuck somewhere?

Or you could be literal like this photo of a koala. It’s a pretty cute photo but for me, I think I could improve it. Consider where the action is; where is your eye automatically drawn? I’m drawn to the face, smooshed in-between the branches. So how can I make this better? I could crop the photo down to the face itself and refocus on his contentment. But maybe you like the body wrapped around the tree–whatever you decide to put in your frame, make sure you’ve done it for a reason and that all “extra” information is cut out. In other words, get close to your subject!

“Between places” can be interpreted in so many ways! You could be literal and photograph something very symmetrical like stripes on a flag. You could be kind of creative and photograph three children with a focus on the middle-aged one. Or maybe you could make it symbolic and say something meaningful about being middle-aged as an adult? You could take a picture of a sandwich or maybe make a play on words (think: “between a rock and a hard place”). Be creative! The sky is your limit!

If you find yourself stuck, my suggestion is to just get literal. Find something with a gap between it and get real close. Maybe try to bring something between the gap into focus or maybe focus on the frame you’ve created. Try bookends – no, literally, try bookends!

This was taken between two closed doors while traveling in Korea.

Whatever you decide to photograph, just have fun! Don’t worry about being in perfect focus or having the right light. If you know how to edit your image on a computer, go ahead, but don’t feel pressured to. When you’re done, come back and post your photo in the comments. Also, don’t forget to join our Persephone group called Picture This!  You can post your questions here, ask for feedback on your photos, take away tips, learn from each other, and maybe create your own photo challenges! And if you have a photo assignment you would like to see featured, send us your idea!

Alright Persephoneers, go forth and photograph!

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Thelma is a photographer and traveler currently residing in Sydney, Australia. In her free time she can be found with her nose behind a camera or obsessing over koalas.
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ThelmaPicture This: Between Places

49 Comments on “Picture This: Between Places”

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  1. Profile photo of LilCrow

     Sorry the picture is so tiny, can’t figure out how to make it bigger. Also, it’s so late because I just got an actual internet connection yesterday. I’ve been using my phone for the past four years

  2. Profile photo of Leah

    I must post an old photo as getting out in the middle of winter with three kids is well, not ideal. But this is a recent outing with my oldest. He just turned seven so we decided to go on a photo shoot. Forgive the awful quality, it was taken with on film which had been left in the camera for, as I found out by the baby pictures of  my near-five year old, a very long time.

    For me, this is ‘between places’ in his life. He is seven, between Little Kid and Kid, Baby and Man. Between needing me and semi-independence; making his own decisions, deciding his own beliefs and opinions. Maybe its a bit of a stretch; he has a long way to go, but he is definitely en route.



    1. Profile photo of
      Kortney Thoma

      I love it! Really creative! And you know what, I find that just random names or ones with catchy phrases generally get a lot more looks online. It’s strange but true. I know a guy who’s photo titles never have anything to do with the content (ie. a photo of an escalator might be called, “Wherever the wind takes you”) and he gets so many comments and positive feedback for it! So I guess there are no real rules for naming photos…

  3. Profile photo of Dormouse

    This little lady is an “alabaster” (more likely plaster of Paris) statue I purchased in Italy back in 6th grade. Currently, she is sitting on the windowsill in my kitchen behind the sink and looking out on the parking lot. She seems a little out of place and between places because she lends a hint of something glamorous to the not always glamorous task of dishwashing.

  4. Profile photo of [E] Rachel
    [E] Rachel

    1. My camera is kind of terrible.

    2. I take terrible pictures.

    However, I have this fireplace that connects two rooms in my house. One room is kind of dark and moody, and the other is always filled with light pouring in through the windows. Add to that the fact that it’s snowing, so it’s extra bright, and I thought this was a neat little gateway: overexposure, asymmetry, and all. And yes, that is a monkey with a fez who lives in the fireplace. Said fireplace is not currently functional.

    1. Profile photo of [E]SaraB

      My first thought when I saw your picture was “Is that a monkey in a fez?” He looks very mysterious with the bright lights behind him. I keep wondering if he has cymbals. The tone of the photo is dramatic enough that it seems like a very important detail.

        1. Profile photo of
          Kortney Thoma

          Cool fireplace and not at all a terrible photo! I love the monkey silhouette  even more knowing it’s a candle in a fireplace! I agree, the bright lights are kind of what makes this work so good job!

  5. Profile photo of [E]SaraB

    OK, I’m going with this one. It’s my hallway. The way our house is laid out, all the bedrooms are in one half and all the “living spaces” are in the other. We don’t do much besides sleep in our bedroom, so the hallway is like a transitional space between my cool, quiet room and the crazy that exists in the rest of the house. To me, the way I somehow managed to make the walls look a little off-kilter reenforces the notion that that way lies madness.

    I also like the fact that is has my cat’s butt in it.

    1. Profile photo of
      Kortney Thoma

      I think this is a great idea! I love how the hallway dissects your house into it’s two purposes and acts as a transitional place between those purposes. I think there might be something philosophical in that!

  6. Profile photo of [E]SaraB

    It didn’t occur to me when you started this, but MiniB is also a budding young photographer. I was walking around, looking for things to shoot, and she wanted in on the fun. She’s pretty good for a seven-year-old, if I do say so myself. I was the one holding the camera for her picture, but she set it up, told me what she wanted and then told me how to crop it. All I did was push the button.

    I’m still trying to figure my entry out, but here is hers:

    1. Profile photo of
      Kortney Thoma

      I love that Mini is into photography! I remember having my own camera as a kid and taking so many photos with it. I never had so much fun as when I got to develop my own roll of film! Thanks for posting her photo for us! I hope she does more of these!

  7. Profile photo of
    Kortney Thoma

    Okay, after my own failed attempt to post a photo through the attachment uploader, I’ve come up with a solution.  How many of you have Gmail accounts? Probably most of us. What you may not know is that when you create an account with Google, you are also creating an account with Picasa Web Albums. To access it, click “photos” on the bar at the top of your screen while in Gmail or if you’re not a Gmail user, go to Google, click on the more tab at the top, select “Photos” and create an account (or just click on the link above). Follow the instructions to upload a photo. When you are done, open the photo and right click to copy it. Then come back to the comments and paste it. Easy-peasy. This way we can avoid the uploader all together, you can store your photos, and you can post larger sizes of them on the website!

    Let me know if you have trouble with this and I’ll help. Send me a personal message.



  8. Profile photo of
    Kortney Thoma

    Okay! Here’s my hearty attempt at being creative. Currently, my fiance and I are “between places.” We’ve just moved back to Australia and we have no home yet so we’re staying in a hostel. Unfortunately, the place didn’t have any rooms available with queen sized beds so we’ve been sleeping on twins pushed together for a few weeks now. It’s not terrible but it does get annoying when I want to cuddle in the morning and there is this big gap between us.

    1. Profile photo of

      This reminds me of what happened when my boyfriend and I moved into our new apartment. We had ordered a new queen size bed from Sears (I highly recommend finding a company that isn’t so incompetent for any of your future furniture needs) and had expected it to arrive the day we moved in. We were super excited since we had been sharing a double bed for awhile; it was squishy and hard and horrible.

      And then the unthinkable happened. They delivered our stove and “forgot” our bed (and our dining room set). We were forced to sleep on two single inflatable mattresses for two weeks (and eat on our stairs). It was the worse ever.  No cuddles since the mattresses would slowly move apart and the sheets kept coming off.

    2. Profile photo of QoB

      hate the anti-cuddle gap!! Sometimes hotels do it too, and don’t tell you it’s a double bed in disguise. Grr.

      I love how your sleeping positions are so similar – was that deliberate?

      1. Profile photo of
        Kortney Thoma

        No, I just took about 10 photos until I found one that a. didn’t show my butt, b. didn’t obscure my face with giant boobs, and c. didn’t make me look like a crack addict. The similar positions were just coincidence. I probably would have taken more but my guy gets really restless when I ask him to pose for too long. :)

  9. Profile photo of QoB

    Ok, I made it super-tiny to appease the uploader, fingers crossed

    It’s the Hughenot cemetary in Dublin city centre, holding its own since 1693.

    1. Profile photo of
      Kortney Thoma

      Great idea! I love little places like this that have somehow managed to not be gobbled up by growing cities. Bummer about the uploader being a jerk!

      1. Profile photo of QoB

        I’ve never seen it open to visitors – I took this photo through the railings on the gate – but I love it anyway. There’s a picture of the (pink!) gate on the wikipedia page and also here.

      1. Profile photo of
        Kortney Thoma

        Yay! The photo worked! Interesting place–thanks for sharing the link! I wonder why it’s not open to the public… Do you think it’s private owned by one of the Huguenot families?

        1. Profile photo of QoB

          I actually don’t know. From what I’ve been able to find out online, it was owned until the 1960’s by a trust fund set up by the Huguenot families (including the La Touches, who set up the Bank of Ireland and were pretty damn wealthy), but after that I don’t know. It could be owned by Dublin City Council and they just don’t want to maintain it, but all other spaces like this in the city that are locked (like Fitzwilliam Square) are privately owned.

  10. Profile photo of Kiisu

    Woohoo! I saved and saved for my new camera, and yet now that I have it, I have utterly failed at getting out and using it. This is great motivation.

      1. Profile photo of
        Kortney Thoma

        Let’s say next Monday January 22nd. That should give you a full week and weekend to take photos. I’m so excited to see what you post! I have to get out my camera too!

        1. Profile photo of QoB

          Awesome. I have a location idea, now all I have to do is remember to bring my proper camera to it…

  11. Profile photo of Cesy

    Cool idea! I really want to get my photography skills up before I go to South Africa next year, but first I need a camera! Any recommendations? Something that is good quality, durable and smallish would be preferable, we’re spending over a week on safari.

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