Friday, August 29, 2014

Chris Knight's Photography Stuff Article

First, hats off to Chris Knight for writing in two fairly easy to read articles about a bunch of concepts I've been struggling to grasp for something like three years of college in an easy to digest way. Takes skill to right about all this in an articulate way that isn't dizzying to read.

He started off strong by making it clear that these are NOT rules. I mean, yes, they are, but they don't determine what makes an image resonate. Photos have to have a core to them that is worth building upon for any of these guides and tricks to mean anything. I can compose a perfectly lit pile of dog poop that abides by every single one of these rules, even some fancy use of negative space, and it would still just be dog poop. That is the most important thing to take away from this article. We're all in an institution of learning. Going in, we assume that whatever we're taking away from all this is what we'll live by day in day out. These rules MUST be binding and exact, telling, if we're paying $50,000 a year for them. This is what leads a young 20 something coming out of film school to hate Spider-Man 2 because "they didn't like the lighting." It's a real corrosive and limiting mindset and I'm glad that Chris immediately did away with it before diving deep into the article.

On the actual principles themselves? Man this was fantastic. Aside from a few instances (He just defined the golden ratio and then gave no explanation at all of how to use it, what it means or how not using it could be powerful and that was infuuuuriating. He was similarly withholding on Sinister and Baroque lines.), Chris both teaches what and how. WHAT Chiaroscuro is and why it's evocative, HOW to use complementary colors and why it can be meaningful, WHY symmetrical compositions can be both empowering and damaging to a shot. If he went a bit deeper on a few of these I would have been happy but overall he handled all these very well.

Perhaps the principle that interests me most of the lot is negative space. Just the way the mind works in that regard, where the focus of the shot isn't really the point of the shot and yet at the same time without it it would not be nearly as powerful, is really interesting. I just want to figure out the variety of ways I could use this to find some differing understandings of a scene. The idea of symmetry also interests me. What makes a good shot of symmetry stand out and what makes a bad one bore you to your iPhone. These subtle little nuances are the kind of tool I want ready at disposal in my brain to bring life to whatever I'm working on. Not the sort of thing I remember I can use but that I know on instinct to do. I suppose that'll only come from constantly employing them but reading stuff like this is the first step.

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