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Author Topic: Effective composition  (Read 34427 times)
Howard Smith
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« on: January 06, 2004, 04:55:45 PM »
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I intended to compliment Michael's image of the dunes.  "Bland" I don't find to be especially complimentary.  The dunes at that time of day are quiet and the light soft, the colors warm.  But I don't find them bland at all.

Perhaps my negative impressions of the lake and reflections comes partly from never having been there to experience the scene.
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victoraberdeen
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« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2004, 12:26:42 PM »
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subjective within reason
Exegeter, What ever box they gave you at your art/design school - jump out and throw the box out with the garbage. Your restricting your creativity too much on what you think is reasonable!

Understnad the rules and then create compositions that create impact and reaction. If one of my clients called my work reasonable I would throw the work out and start over!
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Exegeter
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« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2004, 02:14:51 PM »
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Ray, "all other ways" is why the composition is good.  i.e. not random elements used just because they're elements.  They work together.

Scott, I see what you're saying.  You're right in my not wording that very well.

Victor, we can agree to disagree.  Please just don't start quoting line from the Matrix...
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Howard Smith
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« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2004, 10:00:16 AM »
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One thing that touched off all this discussion was Micheal's statement that he cropped the dunes to create "dynamic tension."  Maybe Michael could tell us what he meant.

The other factor was the bit of bland sky that was distracting.  While it is somewhat difficult to quantify good composition, it is known that the human eye is attracted to certain things, one being relatively light or bright areas.  Cropping the sky prevents he viewer from being unwittingly attracted to an insignificant part on the image.  Pretty straight forward.  Michael's image is about the orange dunes, so make the viewer look at them.  The portion of the mountains behind the dunes is dark and not very interesting to the eye.  The color also harmonizs with the dunes, so the mountains do not attract attention.

As discussed elsewhere on this site, human's have been attempting for some time to quantify what is good or pleasing compositions.  The golden mean and the rule of thirds are examples.  Artists talk about balance, which introduces size and color of elements as well as location.  Yes, these are but guides and following them does not guarentee a good photo, just as breaking them does not always produce a bad photo.

Perhaps good composition (and good art if you will) can be better measured by human acceptance over time.  Some art has endured for centuries.  Look at how it is put together.  It may provide clues into what makes art good.
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Howard Smith
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« Reply #4 on: January 13, 2004, 11:13:09 AM »
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To get back to Scott, perhaps if there were something happening up in the sky, like dramatic and threatening clouds or sunset clouds with color, maybe the inclusion of the mountain tops and sky could provide some dynamic tesion as I define it.  Threatening clouds would play against the dry serene dunes.
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Jonathan Wienke
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« Reply #5 on: January 14, 2004, 12:42:50 AM »
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The tree on the right does go from bottom right to top left, and the fallen bits do go from left to right, and everything is reversed if you flip the image horizantally. There's nothing perpendicular about the fallen bits. Are we confused about horizontal, perpendicular and 45 degrees?
The main section of fallen roof is mostly perpendicular to the tree trunk on the right edge of the frame; perhaps that's what's being referred to?

As to the Swiss bank account deposit, how about a 25% discount off your first order at my Print Store?
 
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Bobtrips
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« Reply #6 on: January 18, 2004, 07:36:32 PM »
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Ray, I think that if you were to go back and read this one down from the top you'd have to agree that a lot of the discussion revolved around what is meant by the word 'tension'.  It differed from person to person.  In fact one person seems to have offered two different definitions.

There were offered images in which some found tension.  Others found none.

There would have been no, or certainly little, discussion as to whether an image were in color or B&W, whether an image had a green tint or a red tint.

As long as one chooses to use poorly defined terms, or at least use terms for which various definitions exist, communication is going to be hampered.

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.
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Bobtrips
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« Reply #7 on: January 19, 2004, 10:31:49 AM »
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Can then we agree on what creates tension or is that too just out of reach, as individual as the viewer?
What if we were to restrict words such as tension to relay our inner/subjective feelings?

If we say that Michael's image produces tension then we are intimating that it causes a feeling of tension in all viewers.

If we say that the way the smooth dunes are contrasted with the rugged mountains creates a feeling of tension within us, personally, then we have described the image in terms that are less subjective.  We have also described our internal state with no requirement that others produce the same internal state.

Mi tensión no es su tensión.        ::
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Ray
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« Reply #8 on: January 20, 2004, 08:55:58 AM »
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Ray, you say "Schzooom!  Straight to the figures in red."  Schzooom from where?

I guess the truthful answer is, I just don't know. It's all happening too quickly.

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As for what they are talking about.  I know.  It is their modeling fee.  Now, what are you going to do with that bit of information?  It is useless in the context of the photo, just as the photo being taken is of no consequence to the figures, so who really cares.  Might as well wonder who the tailor was that whipped up the red garment.  And why red?

That's why the thought they might be talking about the man-eating lioness adds a certain drama to the image and definitely tension.  Smiley
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Ray
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« Reply #9 on: January 19, 2004, 06:08:39 PM »
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And it doesn't matter a wit what they are talking about, or what language they are using, or if they are even talking at all, but singing a song.  

I don't care what wave length of light is causing me to think the person is wearing something red.  While I understand why heat blurs the image, I don't care that it did, or that Michael manipulted it by adding some blur.
Howard,
Don't you think you're being just a little 'narrow' in your interests here?  Cheesy
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sergio
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« Reply #10 on: December 21, 2003, 08:22:40 AM »
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I really like the photograph in your front page, though I have to admit I came to really like it after looking at it many times. The first time I saw it I felt like I wanted to see the tips of the distant mountains that were just outside the frame cropping. It felt as an unstable composition that had some uneasyness to it. If it were composed in a more traditional way, like including more of the distant mountains, maybe I would have seen it as a nice photograph but nothing more. What a great photograph, Michael. I took the liberty to link it here for others to appreciate right here in this post.

Sergio

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victoraberdeen
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« Reply #11 on: January 06, 2004, 02:52:30 PM »
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but I still find it pleasing.
And that is a great compliment for the photo!
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Exegeter
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« Reply #12 on: January 08, 2004, 02:12:06 PM »
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Scott, I must be missing the contradiction.  

Victor, that's a bit too postmodern for me.  If you write a poem with a bad meter, it's a bad meter.  Meters aren't good just because they're meters.  A poem isn't good just because someone goes on and on with bad grammar and inexplicable injambment.  Composition isn't good simply because it uses elements.  The simple act of elements being present doesn't make anything art.  Jackson Polluck doesn't have the most expensive paintings in the world just because he splattered paint.
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Howard Smith
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« Reply #13 on: January 09, 2004, 12:55:53 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.
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Bobtrips
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« Reply #14 on: January 12, 2004, 11:16:38 AM »
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Howard, I generally agree with what you say with a couple of exceptions.

First, "The portion of the mountains behind the dunes is dark and not very interesting to the eye."

Perhaps the word 'interesting' was not the best choice for what you were saying.  The mountains make this picture for me.  They are what I really look at - once I see them.  Without the mountains the image would be a fairly boring (to me) frame of orange.  

The mountains are dark, a small part of the entire frame, and tucked into an area that is not the first typically visited by the eye (center, then lower right, etc. if I remember correctly).

So perhaps 'drawing to the eye'  might have worked better?

Second, " Perhaps good composition (and good art if you will) can be better measured by human acceptance over time."

Remember that the taste of the public changes over time.  van Gogh couldn't sell a single one of his works during his lifetime.  More than one 'now-revered' composer has had the debut of one of his work met by boos and catcalls.  

Art and music go in and out of fashion.  The high art of today may be forgotten in 50 years, rediscovered 50 years later.
 

(All facts subject to be faulty due to inadequate memory functions, not solely due to the aging process.)
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Howard Smith
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« Reply #15 on: January 13, 2004, 11:09:38 AM »
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Jonathan, I think there is some tension, something going on.  The building seems to be about to fall down.  However, the bright patches o sky on the left detractfrom the image.  The bright pact seen through the windows keeps the eye on the building, its openness and condition.  Burn down that sky on the left and the image would be improved.

All personal opinion, which is indisputable and you can do with it what you want.
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Ray
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« Reply #16 on: January 18, 2004, 06:56:30 PM »
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But there is a lack of specificity that allows for common agreement as to when this property of 'tension' exists.

In the context of photography what is 'conflict'?  The listed definition of tension relies on another poorly defined word.

Show a group of people a series of photographs and some will find conflict, some won't.  Some will find tension, some won't.  

  

These terms are much too be subjective for anything more than creating discussions about how an individual is using the word.  They aren't specific enough for clear communication.
I'm not sure what you're getting at. How specific do you want to be? 'Conflict' is another common word which has slightly different meanings in different contexts. If you're having trouble with the 'lack of specificity' of the word, again the dictionary might help.

If you see a definition of 'conflict' along the lines of ... "An encounter with arms; a fight; a battle", and that's the only definition you can find, get a bigger dictionary.

However, if you come across a definition along the lines of ..."The clashing or variance of opposed principles, statements, arguments, visual effects etc etc...", then applying a bit of common sense, the latter definition would appear to fit the context better than the former in relation to Michael's photo.

The fact is (in my view, I could be wrong) the language of art and common experience is a language of simile and metaphor. If we attempt to be absolutely specific about everything we want to say, we could hardly have a conversation about anything.

A simple statement such as, "The grass is green", then becomes incorrect, if you want to be specific. There is no evidence to support the theory that grass is green, or that violets are blue, or that fire engines are red. It's all an illusion, my friend.

However, we could make a very specific statement along the lines, "One of the properties of this leaf is its ability to reflect that part of the magnetic spectrum with wavelengths ranging between 500 and 600 nanometers."

The greenness of a leaf is a quality which exists only in our minds and imagination, as does the experience of viewing Michael's photo.
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Scott_H
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« Reply #17 on: January 19, 2004, 11:39:24 AM »
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Everyone that looks at an image is going to interpret it differently.  Some people will like it, and some will not.  Some will feel tension and some will not.

If an abstract concept like tension could be quantified, and measured; then someone could point the tension meter at the image, get a reading, and that would be it.  I don't think there would be much point in discussing it if that were the case.

I think it's interesting to discuss these things because they are subjective, open to interpretation, and everyone sees them differently.  Even if I don't agree completely with what someone else says, it gives me an opportunity to look at it differently.
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Ray
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« Reply #18 on: January 14, 2004, 01:14:26 AM »
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The fallen bits of the house and the tree branches are perpendicular.
Okay! Gotcha! Perpendicular to each other. I'm coming from the more literal, scientific world. I should have figured that out  Cheesy

Jonathan, I'd love to buy some of your photos, but it doesn't make sense when I'm still debating whether or not to buy PhotoCal, Monaco, Eye-One or the Sony Artisan when Sony eventually decides to run a batch  of their latest and best for the Southern Hemisphere.
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Ray
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« Reply #19 on: January 19, 2004, 06:04:35 PM »
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and what are they discussing?
How to catch that man-eating lioness!

There's no sense here of the eye beginning in the bottom left corner and making an anti-clockwise motion around the picture, wouldn't you agree? Shzooom! Straight to the figures in red.
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