This the the third of a three part series of posts where I will be sharing some of the rules of composition that guide me when crafting my images. The first post focused on composition rules related to space. The second post was focused on composition rules related to subject. Today, we close out the series with a discussion on composition rules related to style. Of course these rules aren’t exhaustive. I also don’t think I’m breaking any amazing new territory but hopefully these rules will be something to stimulate your thinking and give you some insight in what goes into my thinking when I’m crafting the images you see before you. Hope you all enjoy!
My advice is to have a vision that shapes your composition decisions. Developing your own style or voice creates a grid for deciding what photogrpahy means to you and creates a place for the viewer to understand something when they look at your photos. Having your own voice means that when others see your work they get a window into the world as you see it and hopefully leaves them inspired or challenged as they go about the task of seeing and creating a worldview for themselves. In all of my work my style is driven by 4 ideas that I am trying to display. It shows how I envision the world. I have a vision statement that I keep in mind when photographing and editing my images, “Seeing life as it’s intended to be”. I have found that having this vision statement has been incredibly valuable.
1. Beauty – I am looking for things to shoot that exemplify beauty, worth and value or to bring out the natural beauty of my subject in each image.
2. Unity – So much of modern art attempts to deconstruct things but at some point there is a needed place for reconstructing them. In each image I want to find a good balance and harmony between my subjects and the environment that they are in. It really is important that the subjects blend into a complete composition in a natural and inspiring way.
3. Transcendence – This is a really big and vague word that often isn’t articulated. By saying that I strive for transcendence in each image I mean that I want the viewer to see that there is something bigger going on than what is captured in the moment the shutter snaps shut. Edward Weston says, “to photograph a rock, have it look like a rock but be more than a rock.” He calls this significant representation. I really like this idea and it seems to be a good grounding perspective for what it means to say that I want my images to be transcendent.
Do you have a vision or style that shapes your photography? What about a vision statement? As I said earlier my vision statement is, “Seeing the life as it’s intended to be.” Looking forward to learning from you and hearing what you can contribute to the discussion.