Extreme Angle


"Contradictions of perspective... Points of view impossible to achieve in drawing and painting. Foreshortenings with a strong distortion of the objects, with a crude handling of matter. Moments altogether new, never seen before…" —Alexander Rodchenko

In the 1920s, photographers flaunted the many techniques that lent the camera its unique capacity to capture the modern world. One such technique was particularly striking, turning the world on its head, sometimes literally: the extreme angle. Taken upside-down, from the ground up (what Rodchenko, himself a pioneer of experimental photography, called a "worm's eye view"), from the sky (aerial views or "bird's eye views"), tilted (sometimes called the "Batman angle"), or rotated, photographs can enable us to see the world anew. Such techniques have also been employed—both before and after the advent of photography—by painters, in particular contemporary artists who use photographic source material to show aspects of everyday life from unexpected viewpoints. Jenny Saville, for example, depicts the female figure up-close and from beneath, disorienting the viewer, while Marilyn Minter zooms in on individual body parts and accessories from a tilted angle, producing glamorous, off-kilter images with photorealistic precision.

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