Project 2 Visual skills

Exercise 1.2 Point

Part 1. Take two or three photographs in which a single point is placed in different parts of the frame.

How can you evaluate the pictures?

How do you know whether you’ve got it right or not?

Is there a right place and a wrong place for the point?

For the sake of argument, let’s say that the right place shouldn’t be too obvious and that the point should be clear and easy to see.

As there’s now a ‘logic’ to it, you can evaluate your composition according to the logic of the point.

Can you evaluate your composition according to the logic of the point? 

Are you evaluating the position of the point by its relationship to the frame? 

1.1 good _MG_4018

I instinctively know whether “I’ve got it right or not”, however it is very difficult to explain why. The position of the point in this image pleases me and I don’t feel that I need to move the sphere or crop the image.

1.1 poor _MG_4026 

This image however does not please my eye, I feel that the sphere is spoiling the picture, drawing my eye to it and detracting from the squares of the paving which I do find pleasing. Perhaps the sphere is too obvious or dominant in this image.

I believe I very much am evaluating the position of the point by its relationship to the frame and will discover more about this part 2.

Part 2. Take a number of images in which a point is placed in relationship to the frame.

_MG_4180      _MG_4179_MG_41811. Can you find any place where the point is not in relationship to the frame? Yes the 2nd picture is not in relationship to the frame nor is it “balanced”.

2. Observe the way your eye ‘scans’ the surface of the image. Note how:

  • A point attracts attention out of proportion to its size – yes it does.
  • The eye looks for connections between two points – the eye does look for connections between the point and points on the frame (diagonals).
  • Placing a point close to the edge seems to animate both the point and the frame – it does.

Print out two or three of your point photographs and trace the route your eye takes over the surface with a pencil. For this I used a set of “real photos”:

trace h 1   h trace 2h trace 3

Then try the same with a selection of photographs from newspapers or magazines.

trace 1   trace 2 Trace 3

So what have I learnt? 

Indeed each photo has its own “tempo”. By tracing the line my eye takes it seems that it always enters and leaves from the frame. In the case of the horse (point) photos my eye travels from the frame (at an opposite place to the point) and back to it. With the flower magazine pictures my eye is drawn from the frame, again at an opposite place to the focus point of the flower (centre) and out at another place on the frame.

There are many compositional guides, for instance the rule of thirds (which introduces an imaginary grid into a frame), the golden section (where a rectangle is divided into rectangles of smaller sizes in a ratio, inside this a spiral or a spiral pathway can be drawn) and diagonals to mention a few; however these all seem to enhance what your eye will do naturally: lead the viewer around the frame so they understand more about the relationship between the elements being conveyed.

To return to the questions posed in Part 1: There most definitely is a right and wrong place for a point and I do evaluate the position of the point by its relationship to the frame. I believe that I do this intuitively but I will definitely be more aware of this now and watch for this and departures from it in other photographers work.