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An interesting Composition discussion/debate


Anne Bauchens
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32 minutes ago, David Mullen ASC said:

I watched the first third, it was pretty good! Basically sums up what I believe, that learning templates, ratios, etc. is good for training the eye but less useful in the actual act of composition.

 I agree but this is the least interesting part of the discussion, Marshall later covers with examples some concepts like tonal simplification, abstract form, metaphor, cultivating personal expression & more.

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It's definitely an interesting discussion. I was always partial to Dynamic Symmetry and the teachings of people like Myron Barnstone, but the guy has a point that they tend to a bit on the dogmatic side and a bit reductionist in approach. 

Also Stan Prokopenko is a very good teacher and I really enjoy his YouTube series on drawing. 

Edited by Phil Jackson
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I like how he compares everything to food.  I feel like that's my only point of reference these days. 🙂  Maybe because almost everything we like or don't like in the world comes down to personal taste? 

Great discussion.  Thanks for posting.

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20 hours ago, Phil Jackson said:

I was always partial to Dynamic Symmetry and the teachings of people like Myron Barnstone, but the guy has a point that they tend to a bit on the dogmatic side and a bit reductionist in approach. 

I had to look up reductionist which has the perfect description of the process.

18 hours ago, Justin Hayward said:

I like how he compares everything to food.  I feel like that's my only point of reference these days. 🙂  Maybe because almost everything we like or don't like in the world comes down to personal taste? 

Shockingly true, if you could articulate what a vanilla ice cream tase like in words, you did a big part of composing"expression".

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  • 3 months later...

The muses rarely come down from the heavens and lay out your image for you; generally you have to wrestle with the problem on your own and having terms to describe what you do or don't like about what's in the frame is very helpful in getting to a composition that tells the story.

Composition theory is not a set of rules or society's straightjacket, it's just a tool you can pull out when necessary to make your work better. No different from c-stands or apple boxes. 

As a novice in one field—visual composition—and an expert in a couple of others—writing and flavors—I would say that knowing the rules of composition is extremely valuable especially when you have to work in a decisive, efficient manner, it cuts down the time you spend with "what ifs."

It's not reductionist, it's assessing the elements in the scene and coming up with a strategy to fix what you don't like and emphasize what you do. 

Also knowing these rules helps you keep your eye open to compositional possibilities you might miss if you weren't paying attention. 

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I loved that episode! Watched it waay back when it came out. I took notes on it since it was soo good. Here they are, hope its not completely intelligible:

Composition is not only where you place things in a frame; it deals with value (Lights, darks and in betweens), balance, texture, contrast, jerarquies of importance (Por eso es que es tan bueno analizar cosas en blanco y negro)*Trad:That's why its so good to analize things in black and white*

You gotta arrange contrast not just in value but in shape, texture, color, detail, complexity, etc

Youre composing with space, lens choice, camera position, dynamics, directional movements

Contrast and balance is the use of opposites: the familiar vs strange, the organic vs the industrial, contrast of ideas, etc

The choice of subject generates emotional response (Construction of a character)

"Picture this. How pictures work." (Libro)*Trad: book*

Artists mentioned for practicing Compositions: Francisco Goya John Singer Sargent Winslow Homer Käthe Kollwitz Frank Brangwyn Dean Cornwell Harvey Dunn Gustave Doré Rembrandt Suggested but harder to learn from: Edgar Degas

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