Mission 4… Composition

It is official, this G+ Mentorship Program for Photographers has proven to me that time is relative… as the mission this ‘week’ was all about maintaining composure for weeks. No easy feat! And I don’t mean the time-warp-factor, that was a piece of cake… no it was the maintaining MY composure that required the most focus and that wasn’t even part of the assignment. Focus was two weeks back… I mean a month ago. DOH!

The mission introduced the term ‘composition’, which means ‘putting together.’ We were explicitly asked to conform our photographic expression to three ‘rules’ this week. The first being ‘The Rule Of Thirds’, whereby you divide your photograph into thirds first vertically and then horizontally… what you end up with is a grid where the intersecting lines are points of interest for the placement of your main characters. The second rule had us applying ‘The Golden Mean’ also known as the Fibonacci Spiral, which is a spiral-shape pattern that is mathematically identifiable and is repeated abundantly through out the world and even the universe. The third called for the idea of a foreground, middle ground, and back ground… by composing with these elements as strong and well defined ‘layers’. And the last, thrown in as an option should one of the three not be possible, had us shifting the horizon up or down from center on a sunset or landscape depending on what was most important.

Ron warned us these ‘rules’ were challenging, even warped time to accommodate… in the last ‘week’ I made over 1,600 captures, had three separate opportunities to shoot, and yet my composure is seriously lacking. I combed through the photos, stared at the computer screen with ruler guides, spiral overlays, applied the ‘rules’ as best I could… and felt frustrated & uninspired. My previous experience with composition rules kept coming to mind… I had attended a photographers critique session on the subject, it called for pieces that BROKE the ‘rules’, and I met that challenge with ease. Hmmmmm, no comment.

Soooo, the take home messages this ‘week’ are… time is relative and rules can be broken.

“Without accepting the fact that everything changes, we cannot find perfect composure. But unfortunately, although it is true, it is difficult for us to accept it. Because we cannot accept the truth of transience, we suffer.”

Shunryu Suzuki


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Jen Baptist
Jen Baptist


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