As I understand it, Negative Space in a photograph is the space around the subject, not the subject. The Wide Open Spaces of Montana and North Dakota supplied some excellent subjects on our recent trip across country.
They don’t call Montana Big Sky Country for nothing.
The white barn almost disappears in the Big Sky, under the Big Cloud. This picture was taken from a moving car, from the passenger-side window.
Then, on our way home, we stopped at the Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota. The park is little-known, but definitely worth a visit if you are in the Northwest part of the state. In encompasses multiple terrains, from tall bluffs to the winding Little Missouri River Valley. Many of the structures in the Park date from the 1930s Works Progress Administration. On a plateau above the meandering river, there is an observation platform/shelter, that forms a perfect frame for a view of the opposite bluffs.
The Little Missouri River wore away the sedimentary rock, leaving the bluffs with their many-colored layers for geologists and photographers to appreciate. The Negative Space sets off the terrain beautifully.
In another part of the park, the worn-away bluffs have exposed some very intriguing features. They are aptly-named “Cannonballs”, though not all are spherical like their namesake. In the photo below, multiple cannonballs emerge from their substrate, and the surface looks like someone poured concrete down the face of the bluff. What is the subject, and what is the negative space?
What do you think? Mother Nature is the artist here. The so-called Cannonballs are accretions of chemicals, assembled by Nature from dripping liquid that is different from the surrounding material. They are harder than the bluff itself, and appear gradually as the bluff erodes around them. Below this face, many cannonballs litter the ground, and some are quite large.
Sometimes, negative space can actually be positive, setting off the subjects.