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Thread: “Good composition is merely the strongest way of seeing.”

  1. #31

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    Re: “Good composition is merely the strongest way of seeing.”

    Any Edward or Brett Weston photographs that you don't want to display, please send to me. Not only are they almost instantly recognizable to my eye, they evoke feelings that I don't find in the work of many modern photographers.

    Thanks for sharing the link Bernice. I am sending it to a retired friend whose parents were part of the salon movement in SF/Monterey etc (they lived in Hollister).

  2. #32

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    Re: “Good composition is merely the strongest way of seeing.”

    Interesting discussion, if a bit dogmatic here and there. I wish I had photographer friends where I live, that I could have such visits with, in person. But this is the next best thing.

    Not long ago I defined composition, for myself, to be the arrangement of objects being photographed, with respect to each other. I even went to the point of separating it (for my own purposes) from framing which, to me, is putting an edge around things once they are arranged. (That is where I think of lens selection, aspect ratio and/or cropping, and horizontal vs vertical coming in.) In reality, I usually determine my composition and decide on framing somewhat simultaneously, so maybe framing is part of composition.

    In light of others' comments, I'm now revising my personal definition of composition to be the arrangement of tone shapes (B&W) or color and tone shapes (color) within a frame. Of course both tones and color are determined by form and lighting, so those things play a role in composition as I define it for myself.

    All possibly subject to change after a few minutes of reflection, or input from others in this thread!

  3. #33
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: “Good composition is merely the strongest way of seeing.”

    So as studio shooter I should make sandbox, adjust sand tonal shades and shapes, then light it for perfection

    I have done some shadow box art and posted it ....

    and I never made mud pies, but I just got new idea, me age 5

    Titles are important!

    Nailed to the Cross by TIN CAN COLLEGE, on Flickr
    image

  4. #34
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    Re: “Good composition is merely the strongest way of seeing.”

    Good composition is merely one of the many ways of seeing.
    "Landscapes exist in the material world yet soar in the realms of the spirit..." Tsung Ping, 5th Century China

  5. #35

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    Re: “Good composition is merely the strongest way of seeing.”

    A photograph is an image of events and relationships.

  6. #36
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: “Good composition is merely the strongest way of seeing.”

    What significant photographers and artists actually do, and how they verbalize or preach about it, are seldom fully synchronized. A few individuals can be especially articulate about it. But I always take esthetic talk with a grain of salt, especially if it's coming from an art critic. There's a lot that transpires in the subconscious that is unrealistic to pigeonhole. And things would be a lot more boring if we could do that. Mystery and magic go together.

    Take Tin Can's image just posted, for example. I have neither the credentials nor motive to psychoanalyze him. But that picture by itself tells me something fascinating is going on.

  7. #37

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    Re: “Good composition is merely the strongest way of seeing.”

    YES

    Bernice


    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Wiley View Post
    Take Tin Can's image just posted, for example. I have neither the credentials nor motive to psychoanalyze him. But that picture by itself tells me something fascinating is going on.

  8. #38

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    Re: “Good composition is merely the strongest way of seeing.”

    Not possible to separate the means and methods and results and products of creative human expression from the innate workings of the human condition. They function as a system and must be considered as a much larger whole.

    Bernice


    Quote Originally Posted by r.e. View Post
    Bernice, if you want to be taken seriously, don't start saying that your views on art criticism are the necessary result of physics. At that point, you're saying that nobody can have a different view than yours, and that we should dismiss almost everything that has been written about aesthetics and art criticism for the last two thousand years, starting with Aristotle.

    Really?

    Have you re-read what Leni wrote and now understand what he was saying?

  9. #39

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    Re: “Good composition is merely the strongest way of seeing.”

    "Good" or "proper" composition leaves a lot to the interpretation of the maker or expectations of the viewer... General (older) expectations were the subject matter would dominate the image, as this was the point of the photo, and subjects were shot dead-on center in the frame... Some negative space was allowed to creep in to give subject a more "natural" breathing space over time, then later, an environmental quality where object "lived" in environment with other related things (like home decor etc)...

    On thing we tend to take for granted now is how "radicalized" composition became early last century, as rules were smashed during "new vision" constructivist thinking... Subject wasn't dominant in frame, frame could evolve from perfect order to chaos (Eggleston etc), other approaches were welcome to extend this new "vision" etc...

    When I go to the big photo art shows, the images I see with little red dots next to the ID tags are usually composed "painterly" form orientated images (usually Franz Klein like) of form growing on its own...

    Steve K
    Last edited by LabRat; 5-Aug-2021 at 20:43.

  10. #40
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: “Good composition is merely the strongest way of seeing.”

    Order from choas? Eliot Porter routinely solved it in a tapestry sense. Eggleston just put a human demographic spin on the idea. He had his own conventions, some new, some old; but these are rather predictable, and either got copied, or were there all along. Nor was he a minimalist. It might look that way nowadays when some of his small format shots get excessively enlarged; but in original fashion, not so. Constructivist thinking goes back to the marriage of painting to photography by Charles Sheeler. I could also mention early Outerbridge and others. But long before that, in a few of his mammoth plate landscapes, it is highly evident in Carleton Watkins, whom I envy in that respect.

    We all hopefully have our own signature way or ways of seeing things. There are no fixed rules. What works, works. For example, one of the traditional rules of composition stated to never place the main object of interest dead center in the picture; but that's exactly what Eggleston often did, in a deliberate colored thumbtack effect. And unless one is just randomly swirling developer or dyes in the darkroom, there is no such thing as an "abstract" photographic composition if a lens is involved. It's all objective, whether taken from nature of from a studio setup. It might be inspired by abstract painting. But once you focus a lens on anything tangible, it's an objective photograph, no matter how composed. Most such images, abstract so-called, are just pattern studies anyway.
    Last edited by Drew Wiley; 6-Aug-2021 at 11:14.

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