Great Compositions Series
Understanding The Masters
Why do we love certain pictures?
Is there an embedded design that
appeals to our eyes that we have
never even noticed? Most great
photographers have learned classical
modes of composition that are
rarely discussed. Its time to look
at some images and see what’s
going on beneath the surface.
The Interest Exists
On Saturday, I posted a question on Facebook asking if people were interested in seeing images from their favorite photographers analyzed? As I was walking around Brooklyn, shooting a 50mm Noctilux f 0.95, on loan from the Leica Akademie, my phone was buzzing every few minutes. After a day worth of requests, its time to share the compiled list of photographers.
What Is Composition?
If you ask this question to one thousand people you will get two thousand different answers. For the most part, composition is not taught, even at the university level. Over the years I have looked for articles, books, and resources on understanding composition and only ever found one man who could talk about composition in a clear, consistent, and easy to understand manner. He does not run a photography school, he actually runs a drawing school. To put it lightly, Myron Barnstone, who is nearly eighty years old, has an incredible understanding of composition. And in his mind there is nothing intuitive about composition. It is a learned skill.
Over the next few weeks, we will look at the photographers you picked and analyze the compositions from some of their most famous images. In the past I have analyzed a handful of images from some of the names you mentioned, but for the most part this will be a transparent learning experience for all of us. Who knows what we will uncover.
The List [ in order of request ]
Henri Carier-Bresson for Craig Semetko (even though he did not ask for it)
Rene Burri for William Palank
Andre Kertesz for Susan May Tell (with a possible follow up of Roy DeCarava & Walker Evans)
Ansel Adams for Renee Bizette Keating
Constantine Manos for Kokleong Tham
The shape of film negatives is an influential part of photography. It informs the subterranean design of an image. We might discover the photographers listed above share common approaches to producing an images. Their images may be more similar than we think. With a few lines and a little patience, I hope everyone can tap into the understanding of composition that has remained hidden from everyday view.
First up, Alfred Eisenstadt this week…