When it comes to photographic composition, are you a simple photographer or a complex one? By that I mean do you like your compositions to have many layers of shape and colour with interest all over them, or do you deliberately produce simple images that lead the viewer in, and let them create their own complexity? Each approach has its own merits.
This simple image of grass, with an out of focus background, could be anywhere. The main stem grows from corner to corner, and the lower leaf bends towards the bottom right corner. It’s a sort of meditative image that allows the viewer freedom to add their own memories.
This image is much more complex. Although it has a simple diagonally breaking wavelet, there’s loads more shapes and colours and textures. It invites closer inspection of the wonderful diffraction patterns in the moving water, and the fact that the water is invisible until it mixes with air as the wavelet breaks. A mineralogist could spend time guessing the makeup of the pebbles, and everyone can imagine the sound of the water on the stones. Here the complexity adds to the image.
And what do you think about colour? Do you use it sparingly, such as with this image of a man on a beach? He’s the only real point of colour, and he’s wearing red, the colour that really catches our eye. The lack of other colours makes him stand out and emphasizes his solitude. It’s an image that definitely shows solitude rather than loneliness. In black and white it might feel different.
Do you use colour so that the image wouldn’t work without it? This doorway is painted in strong bright colours that can’t help but cheer you up. It tells you something about the person who lives there, and invites you to ask if they ran out of the purple paint on the left hand side.
There’s an optical illusion happening with this image. Because the doorway and door aren’t quite straight we try and make it straight in our head. This makes the text above the image look crooked – well it does to me anyway!
So, as I asked at the start, are you simple or complex??
Whatever your style of photography, have a phabulously photographic 2012!!