Photo 1 – Due Monday 11/4 – Composition and photographic heroes


A. From the article below, choose the 3 compositional techniques you will be using on the next roll. Explain why you are interested in using these 3 techniques.

Photographic Composition Tips

B. Comment on the importance in cropping and the difference it made in these pictures.

The Bigger Picture – the uncropped version

C. Look at the list of 100 photographers to know and choose 2 to emulate in your next roll

100 photographers to know – with active links to images

D. Comment and explain who you chose and why you chose those 2 to emulate in your work.

Next roll shot by  Monday 11/4 and developed by Wednesday 11/6.

In this roll be sure to experiment with 3 compositional techniques AND

emulate the work of 2 different photographers.

Be prepared to identify the specific strategies and photographic inspiration in final results.

Think and shoot.


10 responses »

  1. For the three composition tips I decided to try and avoid the center, use diagonals, and focus more on backgrounds. Of course, I’ll probably also focus on the tenth and final rule, that is to break all the rules, because I feel like I need to do that at least once per roll, on the off chance something really cool will result. I decided to try avoiding the center because there were several pictures in my first and second rolls that had cool subjects, but became a little boring because I put them right in the middle. I don’t want that to happen again, so I picked that rule. I chose using diagonals because one of my prints from my first roll and one from the second had some diagonal lines that I think really added to the pictures, so I’m going to try and do more of that and hopefully reproduce my past successes. I decided to work on backgrounds because one of my pictures was really good, ecept it had a bad background, and that made it only mediocre and I want to avoid that.

    From the artical, I found that cropping is usually used to emphasize the subject of a photograph by removing unneeded background. In all of the pictures shown, the cropped picture has a clearer and more emphasized subject, drawing the viewers attention to where the photographer wants there attention to be.

    I decided to emulate Ansel Adams and Simon Norfolk because they were just awesome. They both went out to some remote location and photographed things that no one had ever photographed before. So I’ve decided I’m going to do something like that as well. I’m going to gather up my camera, pack some provisions and go on a photographic adventure! I’ll travel over hill and dale through someplace nature-ey like a knight of old on a quest. Bravely will I venture forth, where no Kirby photography student has ever dared tread. It will be a dangerous journey, full of hardship, and the week of heart will tremble at mere tails of my adventures. But when I return I will have some really cool photographs.

  2. I’ve decided to try to use leading lines, simplify the scene, and fill the frame. I am trying to use leading lines because I also want to emulate Candida Hofer’s photography (which I’ll talk more about later), and she tends to focus on architectural scenes, where lines are very important. I want to simplify the scene because I’ve noticed that a lot of times when I’m printing my photos, I crop out unimportant things anyway, so it would be interesting to just try and focus on one or two things in a picture at a time. I wanted to fill the frame because I leave a lot of unused space in my photos now, and I’m trying to avoid that in the future.

    From the article on cropping, I realized that (along with keeping the scene simple), sometimes you just have to make a decision about what’s really important, and get rid of the rest. Even if you like a particular photo the way it is, you have to focus only on what your statement is. Everything that’s unnecessary needs to go. I actually really liked the “Million Dollar Quartet” photo with the girl in it, but she didn’t really add anything to the main statement of the photo, so the artist cropped her out.

    For my next roll I’ve decided to emulate Candida Hofer and Elliot Erwitt. I think they both do things with their photos that I’ve been tentative towards doing in my own rolls, so I thought it’d be kind of fun to try and copy them. I chose Candida Hofer because I thought that she really exemplified the idea of leading lines that I mentioned earlier. I also really liked the idea of making everything look kind of majestic and enormous. I also really like that she took photos of architecture, something with so much detail. I decided to try and emulate Elliot Erwitt because I think he seems like he just has a lot of fun photographing absurd things. I like that clearly poses things, but they don’t seem forced. I also like that all of his photos seem kind of impromptu, although they depict very silly moments.

  3. The things I choose to focus on are avoiding the center, using diagonals, and avoiding conventional tactics. I chose avoiding the center because it’s a tactic my family has employed on many vacations. It was subconsciously ingrained into my mind that this was the proper way to take a photograph, the only way to capture memories. I know this isn’t the case now, but I instinctually find myself trying to center and pose the people in my photos. Using diagonals is another thing I want to use because of the ominous effects it had in the photos I saw that employed it. I feel that I take everything at eye level, which doesn’t help with creating variation in composition. As for avoiding conventional tactics, I chose to focus on this because I’ve always been a creative, innovative person that while creating art does not like to follow rules of creation. I’m constantly drawn to techniques that few people have used to create something that is distinctly my own.

    The cropping in these photos allowed the developers to remove the less than savory aspects of the photos and removed the parts that the photographer did not find appropriate to their overall composition. White space and unneeded areas were cropped, which resulted in the focus drawing closer to the subject. The Loch Ness Monster, for example, could not have been taken as seriously as it was if the photographer had left the beach and the rest of the waves there, which would have given away the staged nature of the photo and made the Loch Ness Monster look smaller.

    The photographers I will be emulating are Minor White and Eve Arnold. I chose Minor White because his style most clearly resembles what I’d like to photograph: that is, urban settings. I have a fascination for abandoned places that borders on the unhealthy. I find them fascinating with their details, and I would like to learn how to hone in on details and simplify them through techniques. I chose Eve Arnold because I love the values in her portraits. Although I’m interested in taking photos of people, I struggle with adding enough values to my photos. I admire her photos of famous people, but what I’m going to have to do is take photos of normal people as I don’t know any famous ones. Is this okay?

  4. The first technique I tried in this roll was “avoiding the middle”. I really like portraits especially when the subject isn’t right in the center, so I took a couple like that. The second is “using diagonals”. I was especially excited to try this one out because like the blog said, it really does alter the whole feeling that you get from the photo. I’m not sure if I did it 100% percent right but hopefully it comes out well! Lastly, I used “aspect ratio” and took some pictures vertically instead. It seems really simple, but I haven’t shot any pictures vertically before so it was nice to switch it up.

    The biggest difference cropping made in all of the pictures was that, all of the unimportant background elements were eliminated so there’s no confusion as to what you should look at. The emphasis and the power that the subject has becomes much greater, because all of the focus is on them. It’s much more dramatic.

    William Eggleston is the first artist I tried to emulate in my photos because he was able to take his boring, ugly surroundings and capture them in a way that was interesting. I like the idea of looking at things that normally bore you and then trying to capture them in light thats different. I also chose
    Alfred Stieglitz as an artist to emulate, because of his philosophy when taking pictures. He said that he released the shutter when he saw something in the viewfinder that matched what he felt in his heart and so I tried to take pictures based on things that made me excited or caught my eye.

  5. I have decided on using breaking the rules, leading lines, and using diagonals. I used breaking the rules for a few. in particular, one picture I took of a person. I feel like I try to perfectly center everything for the sake of symmetry. I liked leading lines and using them a lot because they urge you on, in a way. Which I like and wanted to use, not too sure how well I used it. Using diagonals I liked because it changes things up quite a bit.

    The main difference that the cropping makes is that makes you focus on something, it shows you what is important to focus on. The extra emphasis makes you focus on the subject matter at the core of it, theres no extra stuff that is distracting.

    The first photographer I tried to emulate was Ansel adams, mainly because his photos are so beautiful but so simple. The second I chose was Karl Blossfeldt because his work was so different and organic feeling, yet something that is not clearly one thing or another thing.

  6. The techniques I have decided to use are to simplify the scene, focus on backgrounds, and to break the rules.These techniques appeal to me because I believe they’re a few of the most important qualities that make a good picture.

    Cropping is important because it shows the viewer what is most important to focus on. Without cropping, the viewer can get distracted by the other things going on in the picture. It also makes for a nicer composition.

    The photographers I will try to emulate are Elliot Erwitt and Ralph Gibson. I am very interested in portrait photography, and I really like their styles. Gibson has a very mysterious style, showing a personality without saying much. Erwitt, to me, is more impressive in his composition. He finds very interesting parts of the scene to capture, and is just very skilled. I would love to be able to take pictures like him.

  7. I want to work on not cluttering the scene, maybe doing the everything-blurred-but-the-subject thing, I want to use diagonals and more versatile angles and I want to take pictures of movement, even with blurring, because I like the feeling movement can convey in a still image.
    The cropping definitely drew more focus to the subject of the image. I didn’t necessarily like any of them better or worse with the cropping, minus a few.
    I’m going to try to emulate Nan Goldin and Winogrand. I like the candid feeling of their photos, how they look just plucked from a any random moment, minimal posing. They’re also mostly all of people which is what I like shooting. And while I feel more like these artists’ photos look less planned I do want to work on my planning out a shot rather than spontaneously taking pictures.

  8. For my roll i will try to do leading lines, avoid the middle and simplify. I chose these because they seem to make really interesting, yet simple pictures and i think they will mesh well together. I’ve noticed that a lot of my pictures have either too much clutter, or are too simple, so ill try to get a balance.

    To me, cropping seemed very common, but not totally necessary for a good picture. It did help some of them, like Guerrillero Heroico and the beatles cover, but i didn’t like the cropping on the baseball picture, and i don’t think the flag really needed it either.

    I copied Nathan and chose Ansel Adams and Simon Norfolk. Ansel Adams was my obvious #1. I love his pictures, because he can photograph nature in a way that nobody else can. I have never heard of Simon Norfolk before, but his pictures were the only other ones that were interesting to me.

  9. The techniques I want to work on are filling the frame, breaking the rules, and backgrounds. I think that these are interesting techniques and I could see myself experimenting with these especially.
    Filling the frame I would say is kind of similar to the next article about cropping, the difference is just that here it is about zooming in before the photo is exposed and not focusing on the subject after. It is about letting viewers know what the photo is about and knowing what to look at, instead of being confused about what the subject is.
    I find my next technique interesting because it is different from pictures where the subject is all there is, but where the background helps fill the frame and controlling what is the whole picture and not only what is focused on.
    I think that my last tip, breaking the rules, is one that I also will have fun with. The main reason why I chose this technique for one of my three was when I looked at the photo that is there for an example and I really enjoyed it because of the statement it represents about breaking rules. I can’t wait to experiment on trying out all of these skills.

    The cropping in these photos from the article makes me see what really is important in the picture. It is prime to look at your photo and think about what the important things are in it and what you took the picture for. Often times is is completely unnecessary to have some of the background or other things in the picture, and if you crop them out then it can actually turn out to be a much clearer and more straightforward photo.

    I looked at the pictures on the website and Tony Ray-Jones and Edward Weston popped out to me. I could see myself experimenting with using the techniques that they both use, and I’m looking forward to doing so.

  10. The three techniques that I used when I shot my role were simplifying the picture, filling the frame, and changing the aspect ratio. I chose to simplify because when pictures are simpler, there is a clear focal point and it does not appear to be a cluttered mess. Filling the frame works because the subject is more obvious when there is not a lot of empty space or sky in a photo. This interests me because zooming in or moving closer can change the angle of the picture and make it more unique looking. Changing the aspect ratio of a photo can make it more visually interesting. I chose this technique because i usually shoot pictures horizontally and I wanted to do something different.

    When the photos were cropped, there was more of a focus on the subject and it had more of an impact because you could tell what was going on. For example, in the photo of the tank man it looks just like a picture of tanks until it is cropped and you can see the man standing there. The cropping makes the photo instantly more powerful.

    The photographers I chose to emulate were Elliot Erwitt and Karl Blossfeldt. I chose Erwitt because I like his absurd yet realistic style of taking portraits of people. I also admire the way he takes pictures of peoples dogs. I liked Blossfeldt’s photographs and I chose to emulate him because of the way his pictures are so simple and yet they capture the beauty of plants and things in nature.

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