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Poll - What is the more important part of a picture to you?

Discussion in 'Weekly Poll' started by Damien_Demolder, Apr 10, 2012.

  1. Damien_Demolder

    Damien_Demolder Well-Known Member

    I get to eat a lot of fancy food in this job. I’m not saying that I don’t like sophisticated fusions of international cuisine. It can be fun. My favourite meal of the week, though, is cheese and biscuits, eaten on a Sunday evening with some olives. It is simple, but eminently satisfying, and I look forward to it all week. There are a number of base elements that particular meal contains, and the limited combination of prominent flavours makes me very happy. There’s no ‘hint’ of anything, or ‘un soupçon’, just straightforward flavours that work well together.

    Simple is, I believe, much more sustainable than complex. It is less tiring, and it is something that can be returned to over and over without boredom. In gastronomy, as well as in photography, simple isn’t hard to do, except for the temptation and compulsion to do something beyond. But in fact simple is almost always best.

    In his new book, Arc and Line, Charlie Waite emphasises the power of simplicity over the complex compositions and multi-layering that many photographers labour to perform. Pictures can be about an edge, a curve, a colour or a combination of shapes. And aren’t they so much better for it?

    Take part in this weeks poll What is the more important part of a picture to you? by clicking on the link.

  2. beejaybee

    beejaybee Marvin

    Old poll still up 8-(
  3. P_Stoddart

    P_Stoddart Well-Known Member

    Looks like technical problems. :D
  4. Terrywoodenpic

    Terrywoodenpic Well-Known Member

    As long as the picture communicates the subject matter to the viewer I have no hang ups about how it "Must" do it.
    As often as not simplicity helps. But sometimes Context dictates otherwise.
  5. Catriona

    Catriona Well-Known Member

    I agree.
    There are fascinating, complex compositions, no less 'good' because they are complex.

    There are minimal compositions - some interesting, many boring.

    Composition is instinct. I don't reckon it can be taught and I don't think there should be hard and fast rules on content or complexity either. An image works - or it doesn't.
  6. Geren

    Geren Well-Known Member

    I have to disagree with this. I think it most certainly CAN be taught. However some people will have a more instinctive approach to it than others and those that don't "get it" without having to think about it each and every time, just have to learn to live with the fact that they have to think about it each and every time.
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2012
  7. Old git

    Old git In the Stop Bath

    I agree with both of you. Good composition is a gift. Some people have a natural eye for a picture. Some people have to learn it and consequently have to take a more considered view of their subject.
  8. beejaybee

    beejaybee Marvin

    You can teach principles, but an image that's well composed in principle may not work in practice - some of the most successful shots in history have had quite serious faults from the point of view of the pure technician who would insist on everything including the composition being as close to obeying the rules as possible.

    Some people definitely pick things up faster than others but, whatever it is (from mental arithmetic through walking a tight rope) the more you practice, the more instinctive it becomes.
  9. Geren

    Geren Well-Known Member

    Oh I absolutely agree with this - it's the difference between being competent at something and having a flair for it. But that's not to say that you can't teach competency, or that being competent is somehow a failure! I am a competent needlewoman. I can follow a pattern and make my sewing machine do all the things it needs to do and I can produce a perfectly acceptable skirt/apron/pair of curtains as a result. I can't say I have a flair for it though, and I don't aspire to. I do think I have a flair for cookery - and frequently bodge things together with little more than a slosh of wine and a quick prayer to bind them together and they are often better than the original (probably lost) recipe!!!!

    As far as photography goes, I could perhaps do with following a few more "recipes" but I think my background in art and design struggles with that a little so whether or not there's any flair there, or just happy abandonment, I don't know!
  10. daft_biker

    daft_biker Action Man!

    I like simple best. My approach to composition is pretty much "use it or lose it".
  11. AlecM

    AlecM MiniMe

    It won't make a difference that the link is to a different poll as I rarely find just the very option I need!
    Composition either works or it doesn't, IMHO. For me, it doesn't matter if the key compositional theme is simplicity or layering and complexity, as long as the image 'speaks' to the viewer. There are many 'conventions' applied to composition, but I have seen many 'rules' broken too - to very good effect.
    I think an awareness of the overall 'balance' of a shot is crucial. Yes, an understanding of the rule of thirds and leading lines etc.. helps (and can be learned), but a feel for selecting (interrogating) the part(s) of a scene that would make a successful image is more to do with the heart and soul than rules and formulae - and this, I feel, can be refined and improved, but not learned from scratch.
  12. Terrywoodenpic

    Terrywoodenpic Well-Known Member

    Rules can be learned, How or when not to apply them perhaps can not.

    Any one who has studied one of the arts will have hours of gallery time behind them, and will have absorbed art and design at its finest into their being.
    many of the arts are seen quickly and reproduced slowly. A painting can be toyed with for hours till it comes together and there is plenty of time to apply " The rules"
    Though today that may mean avoiding them.....

    For many branches of Photography things are very different. You only have time to take or miss the shot. Minor adjustment of position and framing compete with the "Moment". Everything conspires with your technical and artistic prior stock of knowledge and "Vision" to make the picture.

    There is no need to look at the screen ...If you have got it right... you know it, you can feel it.

    In the days of film there was nothing to compare with the certainty you felt when you had had a great session and some great shots.

    Instictiveness, practise, and vision become enmeshed into one.
  13. Terrywoodenpic

    Terrywoodenpic Well-Known Member

    I do not understand the Poll.

    With out a subject there is nothing.

    Form, shape, texture, lighting, viewpoint composition are some of the techniques you use to record the subject.

    I have not voted.
  14. AlecM

    AlecM MiniMe

    Same here - now they've sorted the link, this poll does not have an option with which I agree. If there is no recognisable subject, then it's an abstract. I have shot a few, but not many. Everything else I do uses the techniques stated to present the subject in the way I want. I would have voted 'both' as they go together.
  15. beejaybee

    beejaybee Marvin

    If "forms, shapes & composition" are the most important part of an image, they are its subject, and the item(s) depicted are secondary. Or am I once more completely missing the point?
  16. P_Stoddart

    P_Stoddart Well-Known Member

    Bonkers poll that. :D

    It depends on the use. I have images on my wall that are form and shape because they please me.

    But I also have images of subject, like favourite aircraft or action sequences. :)

    I cannot vote because I am attracted to both kinds of images. Also sometimes the image contains both.

    Sorry Mr DD but nil points. :p
  17. PhilW

    PhilW Well-Known Member

    I think I get the poll.

    More often that not when looking at pictures I really don't care about the subject as anything more than lines and colours.

    So a picture of a bird, or a flower for example. I'm not interested in either, I'm only interested in how the photographer has used the shape of the flower to make an interesting pattern. Which is different that thinking "oh that's a good representation od a greater mongolian fruit flower" or what ever. This is probably why I have little interest in whether a representation is accurate or not.

    Similarly with a lot of my own faux fashion work. Who the model is or what she is doing is irrelevant to me - it's all about does the overall composition look cool.

    Actually as I think about it more this applied to almost all photography that isn't of people I know or places I've been.

    So I have voted "Form, shapes and composition", because with the exception of those picture i mention above of my mates, my kids or places I have been and am interested in, whenever i look at a picture all I am thinking is does the Form, shape or composition look cool. And it doesn't bother me whether its a picture of a Bridge, a landscape, a flower, or a human.

    Maybe DD will be along soon and let us know if I've got the right end of the stick?
  18. Zou

    Zou Well-Known Member

    That's the way I interpreted it too.
  19. Learning

    Learning Ethelred the Ill-Named

    The poll is quite clear to me. My own website has been in development since I got my own name with a dot com suffix. You can guess how long ago that was. My only photographs on the web are on the websites of volunteer and pastime groups of which I am a member. Subject is everything. I try to be 'artistic' and relevant. One or two people (who always want pictures) say I have a good eye; liars.
  20. Atavar

    Atavar Well-Known Member

    I think this poll is excellent - and one which has me stumped. Is a gorgeous looking picture 'better' that an image that carries a strong subject? (and usually with subject, message.)

    Ideally i'd want both, a good looking picture with a strong subject matter, but as most of my images end up being abstracts i suppose i can't claim to make either striking images or meaningful ones. So i'm stumped. Can't vote.
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2012

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