Orientation : 1
X Resolution : 72.0000000
Y Resolution : 72.0000000
Software : Adobe Photoshop 7.0
Published: Thursday 9th of April 2009 12:57:52 PM
Great shot. Beautiful model, nice colours and soft lighting. Very well done.
John Beautiful, so lovely model and colors. Regards. Alberto
Marilyn Monroe pointed out to the director in the Missfits with Clark Gable and Montgomery Cliff, that he could crop off the top of her head and concentrate on her eyes because .."Everyone knows I have a top to my head !" (quoted from Houseofchabrier on DA). Haha .. ! Thanks Jim, that is a really interesting point about black and white, when supposed rules first came into existence, and I like the Guernica example too. Of course there are some basic lines which can be of interest to follow, but I do believe that the visual has much more to do with emotion than with mathematical formulations, even though one can eventually affect the other.
Although having started as a landscape photographer, thereby developing an instinctive sense of the rule of thirds, I find the juxtaposition of everyday sight and visualization to be a release when photographing people. When do we ever really see people perfectly placed before our eyes? I do agree that following the rules can be quite visually appealing yet also find disregarding them to produce stunning results as well. I personally attempt to do both with varying results. With regards to this image, I would like to see just a touch more space between her eyebrow and the top of the frame (which certainly may contradict what I just stated). That would help my eye more comfortably appreciate her beauty and the colour palette of the composition. My vision seems to be forced a little high here creating the discomfort I refer to.
It is a bit tight. This is one instance that I would have rotated the camera to vertical. I do like the inclusion of the vase in the picture though. Nice colors!!!!!!! Very Nice!
Thank you Bill, admittedly I did make quite a similar reasoning to you, but then are we not replacing one set of rules by another? I find that this really is a very interesting debate that in no way is meant to be controversial. For me, as Jim Phelps says it still boils down to something more emotional. I find it easier to dissociate art from mathematics than our feelings. Thank you very much for taking the time to reflect on this image.
John, Excellent summation. Art is about emotions and the emotional response it evokes. Jim Phelps
I agree with you, and rightly that creative people are more often those that make the own rules.
What an interesting comment to read Jerry, thank you so much for your time and trouble. This is one occasion when I really don't know what to answer. I have never been one to follow rules in life. Served me well for my thesis, less so in other areas, yet funnily they are related because I have found that to question one's surroundings is was leads most often to a productive life. The fact remains that photography is a visual art and no amount of rules, technique or know how will guarantee results, any more than their absence can do the opposite. Will a straight wall make a picture beautiful, what nonsense, not any more than it's absence will necessarily spoil the view. None of the great photographers that we know care two hoots about this rule or any other come to that. More often than not I would say it's the very reason why their work is so distinctive. If it was traditional and predictable, who would notice? A lot has to do with connection and it's often very personal. I take photos and then select to show the ones that I relate to. Sometimes others will agree, other times not. One reason why I sometimes post controversial stuff is to see which way opinions sway. Even the silly rating system serves a purpose when the numbers reach statistical significance, easily done when you ignore the often spiteful 3's and the sometimes over exuberant 7's, as in any standard deviation. Personally, I even set a ratio to what is marked anonymously or not. So what's my conclusion, it's that there are no rules really. It's not because one cuts the nose off that a mouth may not be interesting. It's up to each and every one of us to look at an image and decide what reaction it evokes. I see several things wrong with this photo, and a couple of things that I like. None of them are really related to any dogma. Of course it's just my opinion, but that is what we are here for, to express it. Thank you once again my friend, John
John, My photographic career now spans 58 years, so I suspect I am the voice of "photography past." Take account of that as ever you will. I guess I am here representing classical values in photographic art. I have noticed in the last few years that more and more younger photographers are cropping off the tops of heads - which to my way of thinking is an unforgivable fault in anything other than an extreme facial closeup. In my college days I worked for the campus photographer and I did something like this crop in an experimental b&w portrait. When my boss saw it he simply said "Do that again and you will not work here!" So, naturally, I am conditioned by my history and training. I have searched through my library of photographic works and find no sign of such cropping before the mid 60s. A picky book like Mortensen's How to Pose the Model (1956) which is filled with prohibitions against such details as "split profiles" with its concern of the nose line interferring with the cheek line, does not even recognize the possibility of cropped head tops. No one ever thought of doing that in earlier times. I have run into discussions of how large the gap between the head top and the frame should be. No one advocates zero or minus distances in the literature I can find. I believe that when wide screen movies became common, the composers of such films had a difficult time knowing how to frame closeups, so they resorted to cropping off the tops of heads. I strongly suspect viewing them has desensitized us to the esthetic effect. Almost any "rule" of composition is about placing important subject elements in "strong" positions. It does not matter whether I am talking about the rule of thirds, the golden mean, etc., important elements of an image need to be in psychologically strong positions in the image rectangle. I would argue that the eyes are the soul of a person's portrait and that in this image you have placed them in a very compositionally weak position in the image rectangle. I agree with the earlier critique that suggests a vertical rectangle rather than a horizontal. Think magazine illustration rather than television. In the instruction manuals for point and shoot cameras they call these the "portrait" and "landscape" positions. This is cleary in the portrait side of the dicotomy. Regards my friend, our mutual love of photo imaging unites us, Jerry
Jerry, The “rules of photographic composition” quoted above evolved for B&W images that are primarily narrative in nature. At best, the “rule of thirds” produces limited visual tension. The image above is much less narrative in nature and color produces the visual tension. The reds in the dress, her lips, and the beads come forward very strongly. The gray of the eyes and the blue in the beads recede. This creates visual tension between her eyes and the dress, and the viewer’s eye repeatedly returns to the model’s face/eye because of the facial expression. One should remember that color was not used in serious photography until the mid 1970’s (beginning with "William Eggleston’s Guide" and the resulting exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art in New York), long after the photography “rules” were developed. The guides for use of color are primarily those of art, which have been around for hundreds of years, and were quantified by Johannes Itten in "The Art of Color". A good example of how art does not fit the “rules” of photography is “Guernica” which has many subjects (and therefore significantly violates the “one subject rule”) placed evenly/randomly on the canvas (and therefore violates the “rule of thirds”). The “rules” of photography are basically “rules of thumb” made to be applied to (and therefore to enhance) images that are principally narrative in nature. The more artistic photographer will apply guidelines from artistic composition, which are much more general in nature (see "The Photographer’s Eye" by John Szarkowski).
Contrasts Personally, I think John has by his use of colour placed a portrait orientation within a landscape orientation. It is not by accident that the background is muted in this way and the subject in such warm rich tones. I see the crop with the eyes so close to the top in keeping with the message - risky and provocative. That is just my take on how this image speaks to me. Thanks for the interesting discussion guys. Allan
All, Regarding “rules”, lets take this a step farther. The artist knows what he is trying to achieve and therefore what emotional response he is trying to create. He then uses compositional techniques to heighten the emotional impact of an image. This is not one set of “rules”, the techniques change depending on what the artist is trying to “say”. For instance, deep shadows tend to enhance the drama in an image, light shadows enhance the glamour, saturated colors enhance the happy look, tonal colors are moody, reds are wild, blues are sedate, etc. Jim Phelps
Simply beautiful. Michael
My comments on the crop John At first glance it may appear a little tight, but that is because must of us are conditioned somewhat by the "traditional" rules. What it does do to my viewing is that I am brought more to the breast and beads, in other words it brings me into the image in a more intimate way than if the top of the head were there. So I think that cropping into the portrait to generate this intimate feeling works. The image also works in terms of overall composition, the model is off to the left (as viewed) but balanced by the vase. The colours balance, her hair, the peach clothes and the beads is well co-ordinated. Her expression is a little thought provoking. It's a good image John, and I think the presentation works well. Best Regards, Bill
Jim is getting to one of the, if not the, main reasons for producing artistic work. In the end is it about evoking feelings. The feeling that the artist wants to evoke and the subsequent feeling that the viewer experiences. Light, gesture, colour, composition are all a means to produce the reaction that is experienced. I know when I crop it doesn't follow rules, it just looks and feels right when I have what I want. Interesting discussion everyone. Best Regards, Bill
Commerce vs Art Hi, John. There are some wonderful comments here, in fact it has become a forum. I guess I just want to put in my 2 cents, too. I started in the commercial area, because I was a studio manager for a busy photographer. I learned that art directors liked to do the cropping and you had to give them space. But for personal photography I took a journalistic approach letting the scene and the idea dictate the cropping. I admire Andre Kertesz, Lartigue and Cartier-Bresson and the "In the Moment" philosophy. Check out http://thinkingaboutart.blogs.com/art/2005/02/andre_kertesz_n.html on Kertesz for some awesome insights. This is a beautiful photo and it may be a little tight, but you can call it "intimate." I would always archive the full photo, in case someone wants to see the rest for commercial or fine art applications. Best regards, Leora
Thank you Rudolf, it is a very rich paragraph that you have written here and I agree with what you say regarding your implication of what role models to follow. I have every respect for what Jerry Matchet says, and it is not because someone follows the "rules" that he cannot create great art (just look at Rakesh Syal's brilliant work), but I continue to believe that creative people are more often those that make the own rules to fit the situation, rather than the other way around. As Rudolf tells us in a historical perspective, it is in large part what determines their success, and it remains highly significant also in contemporary work today. However, again as Rudolf says, some will be reached and others not. Many thanks to all for making this such an interesting thread.
I like the color contrast between the model and background, you've have got her skintones soft and really nice on the beautiful model. Great work! Best regards Tore
Many thanks Leora for this interesting comment, and yes, I do always archive the original .. :-)
I THINK THAT THIS PHOTO IS ONE OF YOUR BEST WORKS ! CONGRATULATIONS !
There is no rules of composition in photography, just as in any other visual art, such as painting and drawing for instance. Usually when artist pr photographer is being trained, the compositions of great masters are being shown to him, and based on that compositions of great artists certain rules emerged. However the great artists of painting and photography do not need these rules. Composition is correct if different objects, volumes or masses are balanced in relation to each other, by color and by proportion. Great masters and talented artists create their compositions intuitively. It is heavenly gift, that makes them stand out and differ ther from regular people, who create compositions using mathematical calculations. John Perry, I like your work! You did the right thing by cutting part of the head. Toulouse-Lautrec, Sezanne and other famous artists sometimes cut parts of objects or people to take the viewer beyond the picture. The important thing is that you were able to show an internal world of the woman, something not everyone can see. Your picture is very emotional with a lot of intence and undoubtedly warm. Without going into details the picture is well done by color and composition. Bravo, John Perry! I always say - in the picture everyone sees whatever one wants and whatever one can. Best regards, Roudolf
Lovely this IS John and I like it very much just as it IS. You are the master of skin tones you are...
Portrait of a young lady I am somewhat hesitant about the tight crop above the eyebrows. Kindly let me know what you think.