Breaking Rules?

Here is another one to think about.  The rules of composition say the woman is looking in the wrong direction out of the frame.  So who wrote that rule anyway?  Is that rule valid for all compositions? Should we follow the rules? For me, the image works just in part due to the balance added to the frame by the yellow doors.  Once again, I open it up to you to respond. What say you? Do you adhere to rules or do you break them? And does this composition work for you?

This entry was posted in Cuba.

10 Comments

  1. Scott Oberle February 22, 2013 at 3:16 pm #

    There aren’t any rules, just some very loose basic guidelines. As a photographer, it is our job to make an image which is satisfactory to us, and not be limited by something written 50+ years ago about how it should be…

  2. Carlton Hansen February 22, 2013 at 3:28 pm #

    I like this picture very much. It works for me. The phone could not have been moved and to ask her to turn around would not have been “natural.” I think we spend too much time listening to “experts” about some of the rules. If the photo grabs people it works. This one grabs me, at least. The phone

  3. Josh February 22, 2013 at 3:51 pm #

    In photography, rules are only guidelines. Some of the best images happen when rules are broken. Like your image!

  4. Stephan February 22, 2013 at 4:06 pm #

    Rules were made to be challenged and broken… Envelopes were made to be opened and pushed… The boundaries and limits of yesterday have evolved and changed…

    As like in any subject, art or sport there are the basic fundamentals and guidelines that allow us to learn … and then our natural abilities and talents allow us to advance beyond expectations. Very few hit grand slam home runs first time at bat – or a hole in one… Yet it is possible.

    In candid photography, we deal with the moment, the limited time, distracting elements that others do not see beyond the view finder and all the other challenges we encounter.

    You have great balance here and the color and flow is awesome. It works and tells a story of the location, person and your adventure… A moment in time… not posed, accepted, embraced, framed and recorded.

    Remember your comment on my Singing In The Rain image where I encountered the inability to capture a traditional balanced and placed subject (see Stephan link). I could not move as the bird would have flown away and the end of the field and power line poles were to my right… choices to crop or leave as is remain…

    We accept our moments in life as they come… Some we have control over… Others we do not… Which ones are the ones that are most memorable?

    As for limitations, it is nice to know that our only limitations are those based on the limits of our knowledge, experience, talent and imagination … which leaves us essentially with no limitations, infinite possibilities and choices! Here’s to making new rules, pushing the envelope and always being open to challenges and embracing the moment! Great image and post!

  5. Mark Summerfield February 22, 2013 at 6:07 pm #

    I don’t think I can really add any more than has already been said. There are no rules to composition in photography only guidelines. There is a perfect balance in this shot between the door and the lady on the phone. For a candid, what more can you really ask for? I think this is a great image and one to use to thumb one’s nose at all those people who insist on the application of the “rules”.

  6. Alice Olive February 22, 2013 at 8:53 pm #

    I see the world in thirds and your image fit that to my eyes, immediately.

  7. Stan Silverman February 22, 2013 at 10:26 pm #

    My son, “the artist”, who I paid good money to go to art school, has told me that it’s OK to break the rules of composition as long as you know the rules. I actually think that makes sense. The “rules” are there for a reason but sometimes, they don’t need to be applied. I think that’s the case on this wonderful shot. The balance of color is really what makes this shot for me. The blue and yellow in what she’s wearing matches perfectly to the wall. It’s uncanny. Great shot.

    • Dennis February 24, 2013 at 9:06 pm #

      John, A very good image!! If she were looking the other way–it would look so predictable and a bit boring. And the color is so smooth and tropical. As far as rules and guidelines–it’s just the same–a matter of semantics. Some reject the idea of having rules/guidelines but–in my view it’s good to know the rules in order to push the limits-how else would you know if you’re out the box. Put it simply–if you can’t put some measure to something- how can you ever show growth or improvement. We all live with photographic rules/guidelines–like it or not. John, I enjoy the discussion that you and your great images bring.

  8. marty golin February 26, 2013 at 10:57 pm #

    I’m with all the comments of rules being best viewed as guidelines, items to be considered. However the basic question is based on her looking out of the frame, &. I just don’t see that. Her gaze is down, her eyes almost appear shut, & being on the phone, I imagine her attention is on the person she’s speaking to. Simply as a graphic element, she & the phone provide interest/balance to the doors. Also I just love that she chose her shirt that day just to match your wall.

  9. marty golin February 26, 2013 at 10:59 pm #

    I’m with all the above comments of rules being best viewed as guidelines, items to be considered, & selected or discarded.

    However the basic question is based on her looking out of the frame, &. I just don’t see that. Her gaze is down, her eyes almost appear shut, & being on the phone, I imagine her attention is on the person she’s speaking to. Simply as a graphic element, she & the phone provide interest/balance to the doors. Also I just love that she chose her shirt that day just to match your wall.

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