Breaking the Rules

February 17, 2012  •  1 Comment

iowa, sutliff, lake, water, trees, reflections, composition, nature, landscape, herrmann, "rich herrmann", photography,Reflections There are basic rules (guidelines) of photography that are time tested and true...rule of thirds, leading lines, symmetry and patterns, cropping, perspective, background, etc.  Many of those guidelines were developed by painters and artists who had an uncanny knack for telling a story through visual means.  Our minds seem to work flawlessly within those boundaries.

For example, when viewing a landscape, the eye wants to naturally "lock" onto something in the foreground for reference, gradually moving out and up toward the horizon, and resting someplace far away since that's exactly how the world is perceived in real life.  Most successful photographs have at least two or more of those guidelines, ultimately rendering something that we can understand, relate to or enjoy.

But what happens when the guidelines are not followed, are too obscure or hidden?  We make instant judgment calls on photos that don't have that natural-human-eye-flow to it.  Those photos may be hard to look at since they may have out of balance objects, illogical focal points or distractions, chaotic subjects or confusing points of interest.  I've taken my fair share of those photos for sure!  But every once in a while, breaking the rules can be liberating, fun and may produce some interesting, unique results.

There are many things about this photo that people may not like...too much to look at...no space to rest the eyes...subject right in the middle of the frame, confusing subject matter...etc.  Yes, that's all true, but it's also true that there's symmetry with the trees and water, patterns of nature are evident, consistent color exists and the perspective is interesting.  Plus it could be a great photo split up into multiple sections spread across a wall!

It seems that even if a photo doesn't have all the elements of a classic composition, if it's created with heart, emotion, passion or interest, it will work for the viewer and shine through.  As is true with anything in life, diversity and flexibility are valuable aspects in our lives, and bending the rules to make a statement or explore the world is exactly what we're meant to do!


Comments

Jeanne Taylor(non-registered)
Good art in any medium can be judged by an untrained eye by how long you look at it. In this world of abundant streaming media and information in front of us via computers and the internet, we have learned to scan pictures in a cursory manner. This picture literally "caught my eye" and kept it. My eye eventually followed the line of the jet trail in the sky and mirrored in the water. My eye rested quietly on the horizon 1/3 from the right. I found myself looking for something at this vanishing point. While there is nothing to find, my eye went there and stayed. Cradled by the beauty of the colors, symmetry and line. Nice picture.
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