On-Line Digital Photography Course
You Dream In Colour?"
might not seem, on the face of it, a disconcerting composition.
And yet it disturbs me profoundly.
Learning my craft in the
tricky tailwinds of the rule of thirds and other such
arcane devices, I have an almost pathological fear of the
geometrically suspect. And yet.
And yet, I'm an artist,
which means that although I'm concerned by the fact that her
face (because she is a person, you know) is almost dead
centre in the picture, something tells me that this is how it
must be. How she must be. And that's enough.
In fact, the only
reason I had problems with the composition was because I
couldn't reframe the original without chopping out something
I didn't want to lose.
I wanted the column
behind her. I wanted a reasonable amount of balancing column
for her to gaze into, wistfulness oblige.
Theoretically, I wanted
her more to the left, or more to the right.
That goes without saying...
And I didn't want to
chop the top of her head off! The more I looked at it, the
more I was feeling a panoramic (in other words: long,
landscape) composition. Which would also solve my
composition problems. Almost. Unfortunately, whatever I did,
she still ended up with her face slap bang in the middle of
There was also another
extremely strong compositional element though: the flower (a
real one, found in her hair, not placed there by me,
although I could be capable of such an act..). This does
respect the good old rules which demand something lying
along one of the thirds of the pic, and yes, it's true that,
visually, it's normally more pleasing that way!
You can break the rules
much more effectively once you actually know them...
did play around with this pic after I took it, but I didn't
mess too much with the colours, and certainly didn't pick
out any area and colour it specifically, or black and white
it out. If you look carefully at the columns you can still
see the hints of beige or cream which tell you that it
really is a colour pic.
A graveyard is an ideal
environment for playing around with natural contrasts
between colour and black and white. The cemetery is rich in
opportunities for weird and wonderful photos.
It's up to you to see
them, as you stroll past nonchalantly, your super-sexy
mega-zoom lensaroony slung casually over your shoulder... if
you don't point it at something amazing, you ain't gonna get
at all those variegated lines of grey in the pic, all
gorgeously out of focus. Without them, the picture of
the girl's head wouldn't be half as eye-catching or
something to hit you, there has to be something else
that doesn't! The girl is sharp because what is around
her is fuzzy. The flower is particularly sharp.
Did you notice? Maybe it was intentional.
Luckily, we photographers have a choice. We can decide
what we want to focus on!
It's a statue. She
doesn't move. And even less than most, coz she's in a
And yet she emanates
such compassion and longing that it's difficult not to be
moved by her.
Take some pictures
thinking only about where you put the subject in
the picture. Some will be dead centre. Others
will be hanging onto the edges of the frame. Up
Mess around with
colour. Try to find a very colourful object which you
can contrast with an almost monocolour background. Play
camera any way you want; juggle your lens any how that
jogs your fancy, but don't leave her longing... (in
the end, she doesn't care... so search the angle that
says the most profound thing about a statue possible)
Make sure that what
you want to be in focus is (focus challenges!) and what
detracts from the photo is definitely OUT OF FOCUS.
Then comment on this
lesson with a link to your best result - we all want to see
- a photo, a composition, a moment, can be expressed as
well in a horizontal or vertical composition, even if
the subject seems to tell you it has to be only one way.
By doing what doesn't seem the most obvious, your photo
may be stronger
- colour - a graveyard is
the ideal place to contrast colour with lack of
colour... without faking it
- depth of field
- make sure what you want to be in focus IS in focus...
and what you don't want in focus... isn't!
- it's where you find it and what you make it. a
photograph is a dead piece of paper or a bunch of
coloured pixels on a screen. It doesn't matter if the
subject is alive or dead... the person looking at it
~ Comment on this lesson in the Photo Blog
lesson belongs to the following sections...
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