articles/Composition/negativespace-page1

Negative Space Seeing What isn't There! - part 1 of 1 2 3 4

by Sofie Louca Published 01/10/2011

by Sofie Louca and Paul Karaolides

"Though thirty spokes may form the wheel it is the hole within the hub which gives the wheel utility. It is not the clay the potter throws which gives the pot its usefulness but the space within the shape from which the pot is made. We hammer wood for a house but it is the inner space that makes it livable. Such is the utility of non-existence." - Lao Tzu (Chinese Philosopher)

Many things have to come together to make a strong image, ranging from the lighting, the posing, the camera settings, the location, the processing and the composition. Any of these things poorly used, or badly executed, can give you a substandard, less than ordinary image.


Much is written about the technical side of photography and we're all eager to improve our knowledge and understanding, but sometimes our creativity is an aspect that we neglect. For many, creativity is much harder to learn or apply than technical information. Some people, no matter how hard they try, cannot improve on their creativity and feel stuck in a rut. I hear people ask, "How can I improve my style?, How can I be more artistic?" There are no hard and fast answers to these questions: for some it comes naturally, whilst others have to work hard at creating artistic images.

A good starting point is through composition. For many photographers, with years of experience, they hold the camera up to their eye and automatically 'see' an image and the way it needs to be composed, but for those without the experience under their belts 'seeing' the composition can feel like a chore or else it's something that's overlooked and snapshots are taken. If you struggle with your compositions, next time you hold your camera up, consider looking at the space around the client and where best to position your client to make them stand out from the background and what will evoke a stronger emotion from the viewer.

By exploring where best to position the subject and either moving ourselves or them we limit the distractions and compose a striking image. This can either break the rules or conform to the rules, an image which is both pleasing to the eye and creative, and an image which can evoke emotion perhaps due to the dynamic nature of the composition or the subtlety of the image.


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1st Published 01/10/2011
last update 14/02/2014 14:48:13

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