Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication Leonardo da Vinci

Parisian Dreams Tomas Lopez

Complexity What appears to be a straightforward photograph of the inside of a subway car can, at second glance, be quite confusing. We see what appears to be a Paris street scene inside the car. Our first thought is that it is just a Photoshop manipulation. To the extreme left, we notice part of an open door and a blurred image of a person on the outside walking by. Evidently a slow shutter speed was used to adjust for the light level inside the car. In a discussion with the photographer, he...

Our brains are programmed to respond to eyes and faces whether we are consciously aware of it or not Melissa Bateson

Gloria Swanson Nikolas Murray

James Van Der Zee 1886-1983 was an African American photographer who had a studio in Harlem and created portraits of African Americans of his time. He was affectionately called The Picture Taking Man. 2. Between 1920 and 1940, Nickolas Murray made over 10,000 portraits of movie stars and other celebrities. In this photograph, the movie star is positioned to the left of center with a prominent left shoulder, geometrically arranged arms, and a strong gaze at the viewer. Photo 2. Gloria...

To define is to destroy To suggest is to create Baudelaire

Color Perspective The feeling of grandeur and distance, in this photograph taken in Yosemite National Park, begins with warm colors in the foreground advancing towards the viewer while the cool colors in the background recede. The overlapping mountain ranges increase the sense of distance and depth. The fine print in upper caption reads Cloud shadows are used to separate planes and give added depth to the picture. Camera Distance There is a common misconception that the focal length of a lens...

Of all the means of expression photography is the only one that fixes a precise moment in time We play with subjects

Michelangelo God

The Creation of Adam Michelangelo The Creation of Adam Michelangelo In this famous and familiar painting by Michelangelo, God the creator at the right extends his finger to give life to Adam, who also extends his finger to receive life. The fingers do not touch, however, and life has not yet been given. It is up to the viewer to activate the action by having the fingers touch. By doing so, we complete the action and form closure. The size of the interval between the fingers proximity is...

Exercises

Giuseppe Arcimboldo Vertumnus

Take another look at Bresson's photograph Roman Amphitheatre, Valencia, 1933. He chose this photograph from several others he took from the same vantage point. It is an engaging and puzzling photo. Though the man and boy are near each other, they appear to be a different distances because of scale. Without some information on what was photographed, it remains a puzzle. Actually, you are looking at the entrance of a bull-fighting arena. In the middle of the photo, is a large sliding door,...

In any architecture there is equity between the pragmatic function and the symbolic function Michael Graves

Symbolic Function

Low Angle In this photograph of a one-hump dromedary camel, the photographer set his camera very low, nearly touching the sand mound. We thus have an up-close and intimate look at the camel as he lies on the sand. His expressive face is located approximately at the imaginary rule of thirds' lower-right intersection, providing a strong composition. The camel's face becomes the center of interest and the focal point of the photograph. The color of the camel and sand are similar and contrast well...

Anything that excites me for any reason I will photograph not searching for unusual subject matter but making the

Flower Gun Barrel 1967

Zakia Irish Rugby Advertisement Richard D. Zakia The camera captures a split second of the movement by the rugby player and invites the viewer to complete the action. The stance of the body is one that is not natural in a static position and therefore suggests movement for completion. There is just a hint of motion in the ball and hands, which evidently is moving faster than the player's body. Bernie Boston's 1933-2008 photograph Flower Power serves as a...

Edward Weston Lets Play Hookey

Underwater Nude Brett Weston

We are grateful for the many friends and colleagues who have allowed us the generous use of their copyrighted photographs. without them, we would have been limited in the number of diverse photographs used in our book. Their names accompany their photographs. where there is no Let's Play Hookey, 19H by Edward Weston Every artist is at first an amateur. Peter Henry Emerson

Emphasizing The Visual

Lydia Richard Zakia

You will be pleased to find in this book an emphasis on the visual, of first showing what we are talking about, and then a few words of discussion. Every page in the book has a picture accompanied by a short explanation. In effect, the book is a picture book of compositional features. One can learn from the book without being well versed in English. As you go through the book, you will recognize that we have built in some meaningful redundancy as a way of clarifying and reinforcing what we are...

Exercises Looking

Large White Bird

The original painting by Adrian Coote 1683-1707 of a large white bird in the foreground is cluttered with birds in the background. The large white bird as a focal point center of interest is diminished. A later rendition of the same painting simplifies things, making the white bird more prominent. 2. This photo is a bit puzzling as you attempt to figure out what it is. The focal point is a shadow of a child over markings on a large white paper. The shadows of the arms extend beyond the...

Movement

Implied Motion

Stan Crocker U-NU-LE The Wind . Stan Crocker Stop Motion Even though the camera's shutter speed was fast enough to stop the movement of the St. Johns basketball player, the fact that he is in midair conveys movement. The body angle and goal are strong clues as to the direction of that movement. The blur of the Duke defender's hand not only confirms action, but also raises the question Was the ball swatted away or was it slam-dunked Either way, it was great college basketball...

Minor White Portrait

Feathered Body

Centering a photograph can be quite acceptable, depending upon the subject matter. if the penguins were a bit off to the right or to the left, the photo would appear unbalanced. Off Center the blue-feathered body of the peacock is not centered and is off to one side, close to the left vertical line of the rule of thirds. this is more interesting than having the bird placed dead center. Fan-like feathers of the bird completely fill the frame, providing an uninterrupted colorful background. the...

Figure Ground

Uzbekistan Children

Figure-Ground Competition IrvingPobboravsky Figure-Ground Competition IrvingPobboravsky Selection The first step in seeing is selection separating a figure the subject from the background ground . Did you first see the white pedestals as figures If you did, then the dark area served as the ground. But you could also have seen the dark area, which has a similar shape, as the figure. When you do, then the white pedestals become the ground. Figure and ground can change as your attention changes...

Harlequin cubism and military camouflage had joined hands The point they had in common was the disruption of their

Camo Blends With Background

This is another camouflaged photograph in which something blends with the background. The title Ferns is a decoy calling attention to them and not to what is hiding. The short blue column to the upper left and the partial tree trunk to the right are easily seen. Not knowing what to look for increases the difficulty of seeing what is hiding. Had the caption of the photograph been Lizard in Hiding, you would have instantly searched for him. Finding him, however, will still take time, for he is...

Introduction

Digital photography has opened the door for everyone to become a photographer, and to discover, enjoy, and record the beauty that surrounds us. No longer is the pursuit of photography mired in the technical. Point and shoot is now the equivalent of Kodak's early box camera tagline Press the button and we do the rest. The ease, fun, and satisfaction of truly instant digital photography have made us all photographers Point, shoot, and share. Although digital technology has simplified the...

Balance

Tilted Building London

One of the underlying features of good composition is balance visual balance. Visual balance is different than physical balance, which is determined by mass the weight of an object. The things that give an object visual weight are its tone darkness, lightness , shape, form, size, visual importance, and placement within the frame of the photograph. It is also the reason that professional mat boards are wider on the bottom than on the top, as seen here. Usually the color of the board is neutral...