Page 1 of 13 12311 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 124

Thread: pictures that break composition rules

  1. #1
    hacker extraordinaire
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    North Carolina
    Posts
    1,330

    pictures that break composition rules

    I recall seeing some famous portraits with appendages cut off, perspective distortion, lines leading out of the frame, tops of heads cut off etc. Can you think of specific examples either from photography or painting that an art teacher may have scolded you for but nevertheless is famous?
    Science is what we understand well enough to explain to a computer. Art is everything else we do.
    --A=B by Petkovšek et. al.

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Sweet, ID
    Posts
    517

    Re: pictures that break composition rules

    1) soft elements in composition (lack of DOF)
    2) no soft elements in composition (too much DOF)
    3) no black tones
    4) too many/much black tones
    The only trouble with doin' nothing is you can't tell when you get caught up

  3. #3
    Alan Klein's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
    New Jersey was NYC
    Posts
    507

    Re: pictures that break composition rules

    Well if the picture is of Winston Churchill, viewers won't notice. But if it's a picture of your kid brother, you better compose better.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Brazil - Rio Grande do Sul
    Posts
    813

    Re: pictures that break composition rules

    Ladies & gentlemen, prepare yourselves to the show of horrors...


    BetterSense, just kidding, even when braking the supposed rules I find myself on the path of rules or flexing its muscles.
    Last week I saw a terrific shot here at the forum with a "reverse" rule applied which I just loved,

    Cheers,

    Renato

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    Blue Jay, CA
    Posts
    2,260

    Re: pictures that break composition rules

    I did not know there were rules to break.

  6. #6
    jp's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Maine
    Posts
    5,248

    Re: pictures that break composition rules

    The only rules I had in high school art class were to be on time, don't ingest the photo chemicals, clean up after you're done, and don't misbehave enough to get sent to the principal's office.

    Gertrude Kasebier's "Miss N" portrait is an interesting example of cut-off-head composition. It looks like the subject leaned forward to the camera/you after composition. Of course that's not the case as it would be out of focus with large format, but it still provokes that idea. Perfect abuse of contemporary academic composition, but masterful use of notan style of composition.

  7. #7
    Old School Wayne
    Join Date
    Dec 1999
    Posts
    1,175

    Re: pictures that break composition rules

    I posted a picture on the trains thread a few years ago that someone said "broke a rule but worked anyway", but I didn't know the rule then and don't know it now.

  8. #8
    Land-Scapegrace Heroique's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Seattle, Wash.
    Posts
    2,621

    Re: pictures that break composition rules

    Quote Originally Posted by Wayne View Post
    I posted a picture on the trains thread a few years ago that someone said "broke a rule but worked anyway", but I didn't know the rule then and don't know it now.
    I think you should re-post your train right here.

    All the well-meaning forum critics will happily identify the broken rule you're curious about, plus many more besides.

    And I bet your image would be better than its critics. ;^)

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    3,326

    Re: pictures that break composition rules

    I've always found this Steichen image to be visually striking despite--or beacuse of?--the fact that the background is in focus and subject isn't, not to mention the cropped head and torso.



    Jonathan

  10. #10
    Abuser of God's Sunlight
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    brooklyn, nyc
    Posts
    5,775

    Re: pictures that break composition rules

    Does anyone even use the term rules of composition anymore? It's such an archaic idea.

    We should at least agree that they're evolving all the time. Consider that Robert Frank was lambasted by photo critics for breaking all the rules with "The Americans." But for anyone who grew up after the '50s, that book defined half the rules.

    Never mind Friedlander or Winogrand. They broke a lot of rules, but influenced at least three generations. Keep in mind those guys did much of their seminal work a half century ago. Looking farther backwards, what about the impressionists? The cubists? For at least the last 150 years, new rules were created by every generation. If you play by your grandfather's rules, you're probably not the one controlling the narrative.

    [Edited to add: I am suspicious of anyone's claims to not know the rules. In art as in culture, the most powerful and controlling rules are often the insidious ones that no one articulates. Remember David Foster Wallace's point that fish don't know they're swimming in water. We should all beware of assumptions we make about "good" and "bad" photographs. Do we know what rules inform our intuitions on this? Are we open to questioning them?]

Similar Threads

  1. What laws do you break to get the shots you want?
    By Heroique in forum Style & Technique
    Replies: 133
    Last Post: 22-May-2011, 14:13
  2. Trekking to ABQ for my break next week...who's out that way?
    By nelsonfotodotcom in forum Groups & Meetings
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 12-Mar-2008, 09:28
  3. If you could break one bad habit....
    By Kevin M Bourque in forum Style & Technique
    Replies: 37
    Last Post: 10-Feb-2007, 08:37

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •