Wednesday, April 02, 2014

The Patch :: Moving into composition

against the rule of thirdsThis month patch themes are based around Composition, can you see me smiling? I have long maintained that it is composition that separates good photos from ordinary snapshots. However I was a little miffed when I saw the first sub theme was rule of thirds. Not only don’t I like rules but from an art perspective I know the rules of thirds is just a lazy approximation of the golden mean (aka The Divine Proportions). So I decided it was time to have some fun (again). My last two patch submissions were probably a bit too conventional anyway. So I decided to keep it simple and use a staged scenario loosely paying homage to Da Vinci’s "Vitruvian" man, his famous sketch of the proportions of the human body, just using my little wooden sketch manikin. I quickly realised that just copying the pose was wrong and I should instead manipulated the pose to better suit a divine proportion of the fibonacci spiral as opposed to following the rules of thirds.  Rules are meant to broken, right? As a backdrop I used an underpainting I happened to be working on with a bit of swirl to help emphasis the spiral. There is a golden spiral overlay in lightroom so I just took my photo and cropped it to suit that composition guide. Next I used the “sketched” filter in picasa to quickly make a new simple black and white backdrop, but now including the manikin. I then drew two dotted lines indicating the thirds onto it, and re-photographed the set up.

IMGP7141 IMGP7141 after sketch filter  IMGP7147
IMGP7147-as B&W - boring!My original intend was to take this into black & white but that looked boring to me, the three way split is not obvious enough. I looked on my paint palette and quickly did three coloured washed on the background image. Much better. I also had a play with the OnOne cross processing pre-sets in lightroom (I still miss slide film) and felt the photo centre below was getting close to what I wanted. Then while typing this google+ backup has whisked away the photos and created a couple of HDR auto-awesomes. Now I have three slightly stronger images. The irony of all this is in trying to break the rules I have ended up with an offset pose that does in fact closely connect to the basic idea of putting the key points of interest on or close to the lines marking one third of the width or height. QED?

IMGP7134 HDR of original setup as created by google+IMGP7147- with thirds marked and post processed with lightroomIMGP7158 HDR with three colour washes as created by google+
I’m not sure I will use any of these as my submission this week but I did have some fun. I think I will let Henri Cartier-Bresson have the final word -
“In applying the Golden Rule, the only pair of compasses at the photographers disposal is his own eye. Any geometrical analysis, any reducing of the picture to a schema, can be done only (because of its very nature) after the photograph has been taken, developed and printed – and then it can be used for a post mortem examination of the picture. I hope we will never see the day when photo shops sell little schema grills to clamp onto our viewfinder; the Golden Rule will never be found etched on our ground glass”
…extract from The Decisive Moment
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