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Composition can make an interesting subject bland or make an ordinary subject appear beautiful. In this course, photographer and author Ben Long explores the concepts of composition, from basics such as the rule of thirds to more advanced topics such as the way the eye travels through a photo.
The course addresses how the camera differs from the eye and introduces composition fundamentals, such as balance and point of view. Ben also examines the importance of geometry, light, and color in composition, and looks at how composition can be improved with a variety of post-production techniques. Interspersed throughout the course are workshop sessions that capture the creative energy of a group of photography students; shooting assignments and exercises; and analyses of the work of photographers Paul Taggart and Connie Imboden.
Ben Long: So we've been looking at layers and how different layers in the world can be compressed into a flat two-dimensional image. This class is going to do the same thing. They've been tasked with going out and trying to take pictures that show a relationship between foreground and background objects that doesn't actually exist in the real world. This is very much like what we've been exploring in our layers discussions about how something in the foreground can be made to intersect with or stand next to something in the background. In a way that you don't really see, there are a lot of things that indicate depth to the human eye.
There is scale--things in the distance seems smaller. There is depth cueing that comes in the form of light falloff. Things in the distance maybe have a different type of light on them. These are all things that your brain does a masterful job of sorting out so that you understand the 3D world that you live in. We are asking these students to short- circuit that entire process, to try to learn to unlearn that way of seeing, to try to not sort the world out that way and see a very different relationship of the one object to another around them.
Female speaker: I think I filled one of them. Male speaker: You were awfully brave asking him to-- Female speaker: He didn't care. He was like okay. Male speaker: Okay, good. Ben: It's a way of creating almost an optical illusion. It's a way of making yourself really see what's before you at all levels of depth on lots of different planes and try to pre-visualize how those might combine together into a flat two-dimensional image. Female speaker: Okay, take off the tag. Okay there, be still.
Okay, this might be the closest. I think this is very pleasing. I can't really see it. Male speaker: Yeah, but its there is kind of like there are two people sitting side by side, right? Female speaker: Yeah, except one is middle. Female speaker: It's further away, and you're orange, so I think you are -- Male speaker: Oh, yeah! I think that's going to work. Female speaker: I can't see it really. See that's you and you. Female speaker: This is the only thing that's kind of-- Male speaker: Yeah, I think that will work. Let's try that. Female speaker: You want to try it from the other side? Ben: It's a tricky assignment because it requires you to look with a level of depth that you're not normally seeing. Your brain tries to sort out the layers of the world so that they don't intersect, so that they don't look like they relate to each other, and we are asking you to see past that and try to put them together.
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