Composition (and all design in general) is based on proportions.
Getting my Piet Mondrian / Mark Rothko on
What has Piet Mondrian taught me about art, photography, and composition?
Composition is art. And your job as an artist is to create new versions of compositions (proportions between lines, shapes, forms, and colors).
Some art-works I like from Piet Mondrian:
Mark Rothko is another good example; he was all about color-combinations, and proportions between the different colors/shapes in his art-works.
Applying this concept to our photography
I did an experiment:
When photographing a red/black wall — What percentage of red should I have in the frame vs black?
I shot a bunch of photos to experiment, and made this animated GIF:
Or you can look at the gallery of images below:
To be frank, it doesn’t seem there is an ‘ideal’ balance/proportions of colors vs shapes/forms in art. I think this is where your artistic vision comes in:
Your art is defined by the proportions in your photographs.
Which means — the dynamic tension between the different colors, shapes, forms, and subjects in your frame. This is composition.
Photography is all visual experimentation
I’ve been busy at work, and having a lot of fun conducting a lot of visual experiments in photography. Experimenting with my exposure-compensation, with the proportions in the frame, as well as the colors.
The fun realization:
There is no ‘perfect’ composition.
Your job to innovate as a photographer is to discover and create NEW compositions that the world hasn’t seen before!
Isn’t that exciting?
In praise of photo-collages
One of the most fun things I’ve been experimenting in photography as of late is making photo-collages on this blog. Being able to stitch together related (or un-related) photos in itself is a fun form of artistic expression and focus:
This is interesting to me, because it goes beyond the ‘single image‘ theory of photography.
In the past I thought the goal of photography was to make a handful of ‘perfect’ photographs that could stand on their own. While I still think this is a fun pursuit, I think it is MORE FUN to strive to make photos which you find interesting, yet find novel ways to combine the photos.
In the digital age, making photo-galleries and digital-collages is like making photo-books (in the past print age).
To me, this is a liberating thought– because this helps us on just staying productive photographers; to keep shooting, and not to strive for perfection. Instead, to relish and delight in the never-ending stream of ‘becoming‘ as photographers.
Just keep shooting it.
Let us assume that there is no such thing as perfection in photography or life.
Thus the simple goal for us as photographers:
Never stop shooting and creating new photos.
And where to share your photos? On your own platform/blog/website.
NEVER STOP MAKING NEW PHOTOS! :)