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Photography.19

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Composition

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{Photography.19.94}: Mapei {mapei} Mon, 01 Dec 2003 10:59:22 CST (6 lines)

I had my camera at the world cycling championships in October and
took lots of (mostly mediocre, to be honest) photos.  Some of them at
least document the event, I guess.

But for the finish of the men's and women's road races, I put it
away.  I just wanted to be a fan, and to see everything.

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{Photography.19.95}: Tom Coleman {tomcoleman} Wed, 21 Jan 2004 10:17:25 CST (HTML)

Frank, your bio link to your homepage didnt work for me. I used to be an avid cyclist..

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{Photography.19.96}: Tom {mapei} Wed, 21 Jan 2004 14:25:36 CST (9 lines)
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{Photography.19.97}: mapei {tomcoleman} Wed, 21 Jan 2004 22:09:58 CST (HTML)
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{Photography.19.98}: one more for Tom {mapei} Wed, 21 Jan 2004 22:29:24 CST (3 lines)
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{Photography.19.99}: Tom Coleman {tomcoleman} Thu, 22 Jan 2004 21:49:57 CST (HTML)
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{Photography.19.100}: {greylocks} Tue, 17 Aug 2004 17:20:20 CDT (0 lines)
{erased by greylocks Tue, 17 Aug 2004 17:20:36 CDT}

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{Photography.19.101}: Anne {greylocks} Tue, 17 Aug 2004 17:20:53 CDT (2 lines)

his was a good topic for newbies to read, especially the first half
where people were actually talking about composition.

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{Photography.19.102}: Rich Mason {richpix} Sat, 22 Jan 2005 15:35:23 CST (HTML)

This topic has been quiet for a while, but I came across some interesting pages on composition: Apogee Photo Gestalt Theory and Photographic Composition Fairly well down on that page are links to more archived articles on composition which are well worth a read.

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{Photography.19.103}: Jenny Reiswig {jreiswig} Sat, 22 Jan 2005 20:04:44 CST (9 lines)

The link in your post got a funny character in the address.
This seems to work:
http://www.apogeephoto.com/mag1-6/mag2-3mf.shtml

It is interesting - I find that the rule of thirds will get you in the
ballpark for a decent looking picture, but you do always need to be
looking for the unusual, something that will be more striking.

Thanks for posting that!

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{Photography.19.104}: Rich Mason {richpix} Sat, 22 Jan 2005 23:22:38 CST (8 lines)

Thanks, Jenny, that's the address.  For some reason I've lately been
getting an extra space when cutting and pasting.  I don't know what to
do about it, except for proofreading what I paste.

I find that the rule of thirds is good for helping beginners break
out of the subject- in-the-middle-of-the-frame syndrome.  As with
other so-called rules, once one knows what the "rule" is, one knows
when it needs to be broken.

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{Photography.19.105}: Coyote {coyote} Sun, 02 Dec 2007 14:11:40 CST (44 lines)

Discussion thread from the Photo Art topic:



{Photography.91.161}: David Kurtzman {drkmelrose} Sat, 01 Dec 2007
22:02:03 PDT (HTML)

{160} Or it could be regarded as entirely apposite to this thread,
since this one is about art in photography.

Critics in the last hundred years have self-confidently used words
like "proportion" and "balance" when they examined work in the visual
arts, and so,... We might seriously question whether they understood
what they thought they were talking about.

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{Photography.91.162}: T.J. McGovern {tj2} Sun, 02 Dec 2007 06:34:27
PDT (7 lines)

The Rule of thirds, the Golden Section, based on pi. Way beyond my
mathematical capabilities (I have not yet reached the boys-and-buns
level).

I have always been offended by the mathematicians who insist on
inserting themselves and their theories into art. Some people just
have to make work out of fun every time or they're not happy.

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{Photography.91.163}: Jenny Reiswig {jreiswig} Sun, 02 Dec 2007
11:42:04 PDT (11 lines)

I think it's part of the fun to ask "why" though (although I agree
this belongs in off topic discussion and not in this one... a Coyote
will probably lope along in here and growl at us).  It often does look
better when the subject of a photo isn't dead center. Why?  And is
that a hard and fast rule or can you break it?  Why?  I think you can
take questioning to a reductionist level that does start to take the
fun out, but I'm kind of intrigued as to why creatures like us with
bilateral symmetry, descended from a long line of creatures with
bilateral symmetry (if you're a believer in evolution) would have our
pleasure centers tickled by thirds.  Why thirds? Why spirals?  I
certainly don't know the answer, but it's a cool phenomenon.

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{Photography.19.106}: Rich Mason {richpix} Sun, 02 Dec 2007 15:06:54 CST (8 lines)

Maybe it has something to do with the spiral helix of our DNA.  I
believe the spiral is much more prevalent in nature than bilateral
symmetry.

A dead-center composition doesn't give your eyes anywhere to go
naturally--no lines to follow, no shapes to compare.  Our eyes are
usually in motion, so a static object in the center of the frame
probably seems unnatural.

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{Photography.19.107}: T.J. McGovern {tj2} Sun, 02 Dec 2007 15:34:20 CST (HTML)

Often, perhaps, not always.

The human eye seeks patterns in everything, attempting to make order from apparent chaos. Order, after all, is a human invention. Sometimes a centered subject breaks the frame into orderly shapes which, while perhaps not having any leading lines, does have a certain calmness.

pinion jay

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{Photography.19.108}: Rich Mason {richpix} Sun, 02 Dec 2007 15:43:15 CST (1 line)

Do you think that's an interesting composition?

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{Photography.19.109}: T.J. McGovern {tj2} Sun, 02 Dec 2007 18:52:02 CST (3 lines)

Yes.

Now tell me why you don't.

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{Photography.19.110}: rebecca {anahita} Sun, 02 Dec 2007 20:08:20 CST (HTML)

I think it's a good composition. Why? Because the bird looking out to the right takes the viewer out to the right. What is it looking at? another bird? The pedestal cut off indicates an out of frame continuation to what? the ground? a patio? The ceramic tile color are similar to those of the bird... how nature & man coordinate.

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{Photography.19.111}: T.J. McGovern {tj2} Sun, 02 Dec 2007 20:55:04 CST (HTML)

Another 'centered' image.

Would you call this "static". or "dynamic?"

Does placing the subject center frame take away from it?

State Capitol

I think, that like the bird picture, there are many elements in play here, and that center stage is the place for the main thrust. I think it works here, it doesn't always.

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{Photography.19.112}: Jenny Reiswig {jreiswig} Sun, 02 Dec 2007 21:14:48 CST (12 lines)

I think the bird image works because it makes you look for the
asymmetry. The head points one way, the tail shadow the other,
creating a little S shape which is pleasing.

If the subject of the above image is the contrast of the loose
structure of the sculpture with the classical building, then it
definitely works because the building has this iconic structure that
we all recognize.  The dead-centering doesn't confuse us with
wondering how big the elements are etc, and it makes a nice shape
framing the middle part of the building.  But if the subject were
really the sculpture, an off-center framing would probably reduce
competition for our attention.

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{Photography.19.113}: Alessa {alessa} Sun, 02 Dec 2007 21:17:53 CST (3 lines)

that is contrast to me, architectural speaking.  Modern versus
colonial, I am impartial about symmetric composition, I usually like
asymmetric most.

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{Photography.19.114}: Alessa {alessa} Sun, 02 Dec 2007 21:19:26 CST (3 lines)

Jenny post before, I wanted to add about the bird bath which is a
symmetric composition again, I wanted to look for something else up or
down to the side to make it more interesting.

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{Photography.19.115}: Alessa {alessa} Sun, 02 Dec 2007 21:22:44 CST (1 line)

That is when the golden ratio makes sense...

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{Photography.19.116}: T.J. McGovern {tj2} Mon, 03 Dec 2007 09:59:16 CST (HTML)

Asymmetry for its own sake can be just as disastrous as the typical tourist photo of mom's head dead center in the image blocking the scenery in the background.

Somewhere on a disk around here I have a photo that I liked that was soundly panned by everyone I showed it to. It was a horizontal image with a fisherman in the right side of the frame, facing right. Above him in the background, also on the right was a tour boat on the lake. It broke all the "rules:" one side loaded up, the other essentially empty, subject peering out of frame instead of in, lines leading out of the frame, etc. I guess it just appealed to my eccentric sensibilities, but no on else liked it, because "you're not supposed to do that."

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{Photography.19.117}: rebecca {anahita} Mon, 03 Dec 2007 10:17:16 CST (HTML)

"I guess it just appealed to my eccentric sensibilities"

And there in lies the "art". I have a BSc in design and learned the elements, principals, sat through critique after critique for years... learned all the "rules". And now, I never think of one of them when I'm creating. Having no regard for rules and creating something I like is so much more fun than following the rules and trying to create something someone else likes.

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{Photography.19.118}: T.J. McGovern {tj2} Mon, 03 Dec 2007 10:24:19 CST (6 lines)

I never got a degree, but I took many photography classes including
design and composition as well as the mechanics and chemistry of
cameras and film. My favorite classes were those in which individual
expression was of paramount interest. Sure, you need to know the
basics, but if everyone just went by the rules all the time, it would
all look the same, wouldn't it?

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