civilized ku # 4044 / pinhole # 18 / what the camera sees # 8 ~ ground glass

bathroom objects ~ Au Sable Forks, NY - in the Adirondack PARK

fruit, root veggies and might bulb in wooden bowl ~ Au Sable Forks, NY - in the Adirondack PARK

apple and laptop 

re: photography is not a 3-Dimensional world.

The prints or images produced by camera are 2-Dimensional art. That means that the art has the dimensions of length and width (in the same plane) but that it does not possess depth. The idea that "leading lines" in a picture draw a viewer into a picture is ludicrous simply because there is no "in" in a print. Consequently, even though a print might suggest the idea of objects with depth, in fact, the flat 2-D surface of a print is comprised of shapes (to include lines).

In the creation of 2-Dimensional art, painters, since they start from a blank canvas, understand the importance of shapes and their relationship to one another with the confines of the edges of their canvas. A masterful painter places shapes on his/her canvas in relationships which help incite feelings of serenity, chaos, tension, placidity or any other emotion/feeling he/she desires to accentuate by means of his/her work. (since shapes can have color and tonal values, these properties of shapes are also employed as devices to incite the perceptions of the work in the eyes of a viewer of the work).

A picture maker with a camera does not have the luxury/ability to physically arrange the referents he/she wished to picture. However, he/she does have the ability to arrange/place those referents (aka, shapes, to include colors and tonal values), by means of his/her POV, within the flat field imposed by its frame. By doing so, the picture maker has the same ability as a painter in creating the visual feel/pereived emotion of his/her work.

I have always disliked the word "composition" when use to describe the picture maker's choice of where to place what in the making of a picture. The reason for that is simple inasmuch as the word "composition" is most often used together with the idea of the rules thereof. And "rules" indicate a predisposition to a manner of thinking which proscribes the adherence to proscribed dictates.

iMo, the organization of shapes (colors and tonal values) within the frame imposed by the picture maker's POV is not an activity dictated by thinking but rather should be directed by emotions and feelings. To wit, an somewhat intuitive sense of how and when a specific arrangement of shapes makes one feel.

If all of this approach to "composition" seems rather touchy feely, try this exercise: the next time you aim your camera a toward a referent in an attempt to "compose" a picture, put the field of view within your frame out of focus. This will reduce all of elements within the frame to "pure" shapes, colors and tonal values which, without the visual specificity of your referents, the relationship of those visual components to each other. If the relationships work well as out-of-focus components, iMo and experience, they will work equally well in focus and help you develop an intuitive "feel" for what works compositionally.

FYI, my best aid in seeing and feeling how my arrangment of visual elements within the frame is working is the use of the LCD screen on my cameras - even those with an EVF. That screen is a 2-D device and, consequently, is a step in the right direction, re: the translation of 3-D into 2-D. The LCD screen works much like the ground glass screen on the view cameras I used for decades. There is nothing like sticking your head under a focusing cloth and looking at a ground glass screen (on which the image is upside down and horizontally reversed) insulate you from and to reduce the real world in front of the camera to a 2-D representation thereof.