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Composition & Photography by Harold Davis

Obregon Obregon

Is from: Southold, US
3064 posts

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Obregon Moderator Donor Ribbon. Awarded for his generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Donor Ribbon awarded for his generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2015 Awarded for his in-depth knowledge and high level of skill in several areas.  Charter Member
Thu 19-May-22 07:33 PM | edited Fri 20-May-22 08:11 AM by Obregon
The first camera with an adjustable shutter that I used was an old Kodak with a folding bellows. The owner, my aunt, could never teach a ten-year old how to set exposure so it was a hit or miss affair. Today my cameras have all kinds of assistance for exposure and focus so the only time I worry about the exposure is for control of the composition. In fact I’m free to deal with composition.

Most beginning photographers learn about composition through a set of rules, like the rule of thirds, but Harold Davis eschews these “rules”. Instead he has us look at composition through an examination of certain components of the photograph, like lines, circles, entry and exit from the picture, and negative and positive space. He illustrates these points with his own photographs, which are quite “artistic” (my word, whatever that means).

Experienced photographers can always benefit from looking at alternate ways of composing images. Many of those who read this book will recognize that they already employ many of these techniques for looking, while others will find a different approach will help them improve their images. It might also be that this book will be of no help to you, but that is a risk worth taking.

Newer photographers might derive less benefit for the book. Even though the author disparages rules like the rule of thirds (although everyone should recognize they are guides rather than rules), they may prove useful to those getting their feet wet. Moreover, these “rules” subtly incorporate many of the author’s suggestions. The rule of thirds places emphasis on the subject and incorporates the use of positive and negative space and asymmetry, both of which Davis emphasizes.

New photographers, still struggling with the intricacies of Lightroom, might also be intimidated by the author’s extensive use of Photoshop to create compositions. They also would have had to wait until the final chapter of the book to learn why Davis was taking so many bracketed sequences to extend the range of light. They would also have encountered a sketchy explanation of multiple vanishing points in a picture. They would certainly not have understood that there are as many possible vanishing points as there are planes at an angle to the photographer.

In short this is one photographer’s idiosyncratic view of composition. It is well worth the effort for those wishing to push beyond their present boundaries