40 to be exact. Yes, that is correct. I found 40 different perspectives on a single roll of toilet paper and could have kept going. The concept is that for any given subject, there are many different perspective (or angles, heights, etc.) to approach the subject from. Often as photographers, we choose the easiest, the most common or the quickest perspective on our subject and then move onto another subject. However, we learn quickly that a different vantage point for the same subject can create dramatically different results. So, I set out to challenge myself to take a single role of TP, with a white background wall of TP, and to make as many different shots from different perspectives that I could think of. While teaching about how important choosing the right perspective is not new to me, and I have done this in the field with subjects such as people, flowers, etc. before; I have to tell you, I learned some things even this time.
In order to narrow down the variables, I used a single light, the same lens (Sigma 150mm Macro), the same camera settings (Manual mode, 1/6 shutter speed at F9 at ISO 400), used a tripod and even tried to put the center of interest in the center of the frame for all the images. Can you imagine if I had tried different lighting angles or even multiple light sources? How about if I had changed my depth of field for some of the shots? How about different white balances, times of day, different backgrounds, various compositions, etc.? It made me quickly realize that 40 different perspectives without really changing the lighting, camera settings, backgrounds, composition etc. was quite remarkable. And yet, with the added variables mentioned above, over 100 or more images would be easy to create.
Choose a subject. It really does not matter what that subject is. Then decide how many other variables you want to add in (depth of field, lighting, framing, etc.) and then see how many different images you can create from varying perspectives of the same subject. To really be fair, make sure the subject is a singular item such as one flower bud and not a whole grouping of buds. Then have at it. You might be surprised at how many shots are just waiting for us to explore and to find. In the process, the exercise might give you an new “perspective” on life (even in relation to how important toilet paper is)!