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"Holiday Lanes"


One way a photograph may stimulate a viewer's mind is if it creates dissonance - a vague sense that something isn't right. The viewer's feelings about the photograph will be out of synch with the subject matter.

This bowling alley in Lansing, Michigan, with brightly painted accents and the name "Holiday Lanes", should make you think about good times, family fun, childhood birthday parties ... positive feelings. But this scene - with the barren parking lot, the sinister-looking dark car, the tilting light pole and the fortress-like brown brick wall - allowed me to create an entirely opposite mood. This bowling alley - a place of fun and games - looks sad and foreboding.


To enhance the sense of unwelcoming harshness and horror-movie campiness, I cranked up the contrast and darkened the asphalt of the parking lot. I used a vibrancy adjustment to accentuate the colored gables of the building and the green letters of the sign - again, dissonance: strong pastel colors in a scene conveying a feeling that something bad is about to happen.

I cropped the image to remove unnecessary space, and did a horizontal perspective adjustment to change the apparent camera angle. The combined effect of these adjustments was to significantly enhance the prominence of the scene's main visual elements: the building, the sign, the yellow lines in the parking lot, the car and the light pole.

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