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Author Topic: Effective composition  (Read 33879 times)
victoraberdeen
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« Reply #60 on: January 09, 2004, 12:32:20 PM »
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There seem to be very few photos that show tension, and I have not found any that work with buildings! So I'll guess that as photographers we tend to provide a complete composition. Here  an example that hs (for me) no tension at all! Portraits however it seems to matter even less,

No tension here maybe because all the elements of the face are there?

So why do so few photos show tension?
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Ray
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« Reply #61 on: January 09, 2004, 06:17:26 PM »
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Perhaps it is because so may photographs are taken for commercail purposes - ads.  If the caption had not told me, I would not have known what kind of car is shown in front of the Eiffel Tower and I certainly wouldn't want to rush out and buy one.  Nor do I want to buy a ticket to Paris.  My first impression is: "So what?"  Frustration, not tension.

The photo of the girl is fine. But it isn't what I would call compelling.  Before you ask, I don't know what "compelling" is, but I do know when I see it.
Well, there you go!  Smiley  Subjective opinion has endless variation. Both photos, the car and Eifel tower, and the portrait of a girl, show the element of tension as it has been discussed so far.

Most comments on the girl portrait express a desire to see the other eye. Call it frustration if you like, but is the result not tension?

The comercial shot of the Citroen and Eifel Tower is very contrived. There's an obvious attempt to create an association between two icons of fine engineering and the crass and hackneyed nature of this technique might well spoil the image for you. Nevertheless, if you set aside personal 'prejudices', for want of a better word; the fact that you've seen the top of the Eifel Tower a million times; the fact that you're not in the market to buy a luxury car and couldn't give a stuff what the rest of the car looks like, I think you'll find that the image demonstrates the elements of tension.

Are you not just slightly curious about the possibility that someone is hanging on for dear life from that upper viewing platform (ie. there might be something interesting going on up there)?   Are you really not interested in what the rest of the car looks like, and if you are really not, is that because you already know what the rest of the car looks like because you've been gloating over lots of glossy advertisements of Citroens?  Cheesy
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Ray
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« Reply #62 on: January 10, 2004, 09:52:21 PM »
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Well, I tend to agree with Bobtrips. What I've been trying to do here is isolate the 'technique of creating tension by excluding a part of the image in such a way that it adds to the general interest of the photo'.

I'm trying to make a distinction between the subjective appreciation of the whole image (do you like it or not?) and the recognisable application of a tension producing technique, whether it is successful or not in a particular viewer's opinion.

Howard may be of the opinion that the hair obscuring one eye in the girl portrait does not produce tension, so for him this tension producing technique, deliberately employed by the photographer (I assume) has not worked. He says, 'no big deal, I expect her right eye to be the same as her left eye. No mystery here.' Fair enough! But we don't really know that, do we! Let your imagination run riot and I'm sure you could think of a hundred plausible reasons why the hair is covering that eye.

Looking at Victor's recent examples, the Dubai Towers are just boring. There's no sense of a 'technique' being used. It's just a snapshot with a camera that didn't have a sufficiently wide angle lens to take in the whole tower.

Same with the monument in London. To make this photo really interesting (of course it's already a lot more interesting than the Dubai Towers) you need a wide angle lens shot from slightly above the climber which includes the whole monument, receding into the distance, with the traffic and people below appearing as ants.

The child's windmill is in another category. This has got tension, but not because of what is excluded. It's basically a rather garish semi-abstract that derives its tension from a clash of colors and shapes. There's a tendency to either like it or hate it. Personally, I would not have this on my wall, but I recognise there's tension there.

Could be I'm spouting complete rubbish. Maybe I should get back to less elusive matters, such as commenting on lens performance.
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Howad Smith
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« Reply #63 on: January 11, 2004, 04:03:47 PM »
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Scott is correct.  Just like a well composed photo can be bad.  Carefully examining what is right and wrng with a photo and understanding that is a powerful tool in making your own work better.  A good open critique of your work and the work of others is a good plac to get many opinions and new insights.  Never be afraid to learn and never be afraid to call junk junk.
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Scott_H
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« Reply #64 on: January 12, 2004, 11:19:29 AM »
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The converging lines for the towers lead into the frame.  The converging lines in the shot of the mountains and lake lead out of the frame.  I think that's a big difference when it comes to tnesion.
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Jonathan Wienke
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« Reply #65 on: January 13, 2004, 10:34:38 AM »
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How about this as an example of tension?
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Ray
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« Reply #66 on: January 14, 2004, 12:16:51 AM »
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I resized the house shot to 600 pixels, darkened the sky just a little, and moved the crop slightly to the left to shift the focus to the fallen porch roof a little more.
Okay! That's better!  Smiley
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Scott_H
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« Reply #67 on: January 18, 2004, 11:21:07 AM »
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I don't think it's something that can be quantified.
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Ray
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« Reply #68 on: January 18, 2004, 10:09:25 PM »
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If you've spent time in a particular 'art' group you probably have evolved shared meanings that allow you to adequately  communicate within that group.  But to a large extent you will most likely find it a group-specific language.
Well, you might be right there. Apart from general art classes as a kid at school, I've never attended a formal art class or photographic tutorial, so I'm certainly open to instruction from those who have.

I'm sure there are 'group specific' languages, but in all disciplines without exception, there is often a lively debate as to the 'true' significance of the sensory data presented. Doesn't matter whether it's art, religion or science. The debate goes on.

In this thread, we seem to have got stuck on the meaning of 'tension' as it applies to a work of art or an 'arty type' photograph, which might imply that we're all complete novices.

I've certainly learned something from this thread. Have you?  Cheesy
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victoraberdeen
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« Reply #69 on: January 15, 2004, 07:12:34 PM »
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I am conscious that we fall into a trap - perception is reality, so we think a rule works, but only have each others opinion as validation. For example I recall that Kodak did a study on color that indicated we see color in a context to the other colors it is with not by the absolute color! They had done a huge amount of research before they even posed this ‘idea’.

My point and question is where is the research on composition and interpretation of a picture, I would like to learn more, and more?
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victoraberdeen
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« Reply #70 on: January 19, 2004, 12:48:32 PM »
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Yes Bob, I think this is the key, to create an emotional reaction, that we as the creators of the image just feel but cannot describe.

Or in the words of Edgar Allen Poe -  "FOR MY own part, I have never had a thought which I could not set down in words with even more distinctness than that with which I conceived it. There is, however, a class of fancies of exquisite delicacy which are not thoughts, and to which as yet I have found it absolutely impossible to adapt to language. These fancies arise in the soul, alas how rarely. Only at epochs of most intense tranquillity, when the bodily and mental health are in perfection. And at those weird points of time, where the confines of the waking world blend with the world of dreams. And so I captured this fancy, where all that we see, or seem, is but a dream within a dream."

And a picture tells a thousand words!
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Scott_H
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« Reply #71 on: January 19, 2004, 06:18:22 PM »
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I think they are talking about the guy pointing a camera at them.

I like this image too.  I'm not sure the shot on the screen does it justice though.
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Bobtrips
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« Reply #72 on: January 06, 2004, 02:14:18 AM »
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There's something about Michael's picture that makes me want to see into the distance.  The cropping leads my eye up and under the top edge of the frame.

No insult intended to whomever shot the other one, but I just don't get the same feeling.  There's no "What's around the corner?" feeling in it for me.
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Scott_H
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« Reply #73 on: January 06, 2004, 06:36:09 PM »
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I like the dunes picture because of the curves and the shapes.  I had assumed the tops of the mountains were cut off to crop out the sky.  I'm not sure that adds more tension for me, my eye keeps following the curves in the dunes.

The lake picture seems like it has more tension to me.  I don't know that I like that photograph, but it certainly has a lot of tension.
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victoraberdeen
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« Reply #74 on: January 07, 2004, 02:47:10 PM »
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It is good if the viewer either likes or dons’t like a photo.

But when the opinion is ambivalent! That causes tension for me – but only if I had taken the photo!
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Ray
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« Reply #75 on: January 08, 2004, 05:58:03 PM »
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Tesnion is tension because the composition works in all other ways.  Michael's photo has a theme of similar curves and colors, and it's tension because an otherwise good composition is screwed up.  
This is the contradiction. You seem to be saying Michael's picture is flawed or even ruined because of a regrettable tension.
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Scott_H
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« Reply #76 on: January 09, 2004, 06:44:01 PM »
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I think tension is something that probably makes people feel uncomfortable and something people feel they want to avoid.  If I had a wall size mural of the image with the lake and the mountain I probably wouldn't want to spend much time in that room.  It's probably like using red, too much can be overpowering, and a little bit can make something stand out.

I think in the image of the car, the headlight draws my eye, and seems to be the center of the composition.  The car seems to be moving into the frame from the left.  The tower is cut off, but it is more of a supporting element in the composition, so there isn't really any over powering tension for me.  If the headlight had been further to the right of the frame it might create some more tension, but the whole composition would probably have to change to incorporate the same element.  I might be difficult to frame is so that the headlight draws my eye like it does now.

I think the portrait bends the rules a bit with the placement of the model.  What I think appeals to me in that image is  the way it seems to flow from left to right.  My eye moves naturally across the frame through the blank space, across her hair and right to her eye.  If her hair had been covering her left eye, or had been a mirror image, I don't think the composition would work as well for me.
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Howard Smith
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« Reply #77 on: January 12, 2004, 03:43:10 PM »
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Good points Bob.  I'll stick with "interesting" for now but add that there isn't anything back there that grabs the eye right off, not like the dunes.  If not for the dunes' shapes and colors, I would have pasted right over the image.  Maybe after one lingers for a while, the eye goes to the mountains.  I didn't find anything especially interesting and came back to the dunes.  You and others may find the mountains very interesting.

It is true that many artists were not well acepted in their own time.  But their art has endured.  While rejected by some or even most,there must have been something compelling about the art to keep it around and allow it to enjoy a revival.  There is a lot of art today that will not likely last too long.  Too soon to tell.  I would likely have been one of those that booed the "new stuff."  Michaelangelo's David has endured and will continue to endure, but that heap of stainless steel called "art" out in front of the university Art Building may not.  Rap has come and will likely go, but Mozart will endure.
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Hward Smith
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« Reply #78 on: January 09, 2004, 11:31:45 AM »
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A good critique of your work is vital to getting better.  Nothing like it.  Park your ego at the door and there is a lot to learn.  The forum must be one where the participates can say whatever they want.  No obligation to praise and no fear in voicing a negative opinion.  The feeling when you know the image is good and you get a "wow" from a respected photographer - well, priceless.

I am glad to see so much discussion about two photogarphs on this website.  So much is posted here about hardware and software, and so little about the results.  Nothing makes me crazier than; "Nice picture.  What kind of computer (camera, lens, tripod, printer) do you have?"  Like, but for the lens, I wouldn't be a photographer.
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victoraberdeen
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« Reply #79 on: January 10, 2004, 09:00:37 PM »
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Bob, Thank you - your so correct, but some of this stuff is emotion so is harder to articulate with out searching for common understanding
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