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  • Peter Carroll

    peter -hi having just discovered your site -it is a revelation to see what you are revealing and thanks for the very hard to find link to the pdf on symmetry

  • tavis

    Hi Peter, thanks for the nice comment! I’m glad you are enjoying the 365 so far. It took me a while to find that PDF, so I figured I would share. Let me know if you have any questions regarding composition or design.

  • Simon

    Thank you for your insightful work; you’re clearly sharing the results of months of study.

    I’d become aware that the rule of thirds is limited and started playing with other simple compositional grids and often found them difficult to use in practice.

    Your analysis has made the reason for that perfectly clear; they’re just too limited. I’ve been searching for something like your project for ages; I do hope you manage to make it through the 365.

    I would really like to see some practical applications to photography, particularly when working with models. For instance many pro and semi-pro models expect to drop into a posing routine – which the photographer will modify and direct to a greater and lesser extent – and the photographer snaps away, waiting to capture the moment they’re after (or one they’re lucky to grab).

    Thinking about design in the way you suggest implies a much slower process, one of posing every detail of a model and requiring them to hold still much longer.

    Looking forward to your thoughts on this subject…

  • tavis

    Hi Simon, thanks for the nice comment. I’m really glad you found me and that this content is something you’ve been looking for. It’s a secret to art that I’m glad to finally share.
    With the posing of the model, I know exactly what you mean. The model does a rapid fire of poses…if she’s experienced…and the photographer snaps away. Sure, that spontaneous movement can capture a great shot, but it’s better to have an idea of what type of pose you want in order to create the rhythm necessary for visual stimulation. You need to see the image as a whole. If there are diagonals in the background, you can tie the model into the background by repeating those diagonals in her pose. See day 39 for examples. Great photography requires more intellect than pushing the shutter button. Be aware of your back ground…if it’s a blank back drop, work your model like a piece of clay. Incorporate an arabesque, or a rhythm with her pose. She can strike her poses if you like, but help her get into the design that you visualized. This way it still looks spontaneous, but has the design qualities.

    Also if you want to see how Henri Cartier-Bresson uses the grid, see day 41.

    Let me know if you have any troubles.

    Thanks again for taking the time to visit the site. The future of art appreciates it to! 😀

  • Simon

    The Cartier-Bresson quote about taking your time – and then being very quick – is entirely apposite. I’ll be trying to put some of these ideas into practice at my next shoot.

    I’ve been hunting out behind-the-scenes videos of Annie Liebovitz shoots but unfortunately they don’t give much insight into the creative process – though she often clearly sketches the shot before shooting.

    I’ve long thought that learning to draw would improve my photography – though at the moment photography doesn’t leave much time for anything else 😀

  • tavis

    You’re right about his quote about taking your time, then being quick. Maybe he’s referring to taking your time, analyzing the scene, planning your shot…what type of subject you need to complete your image. Hunting with your eyes, with your camera at your side…then when you see the subject coming into the design, get your camera ready and lift it to your eyes just before they get into position. This way they aren’t looking at the camera, don’t notice you, and your design has the spontaneous feeling. If you have your camera to your eye the whole time, people will notice and could ruin your shot. That’s maybe what he was talking about?

    I think most of the designed shots from Annie Liebovitz are helped or created by her set designer. Other individual portraits and things will be mostly her art…I’m assuming. Just because it does take some time to carefully design a set with multiple individuals.

    Drawing certainly helps you see things differently. If you can squeeze in an hour a day, it would be better than nothing. I wish I had more time to draw too!

  • Kyle

    I love this project and all the information you’ve been laying out here. Thanks so much for doing this its been incredibly helpful. Its pretty crazy to me to consider how long I’ve looked into composition techniques and how long it took to come across some really useful stuff. I was wondering if you could talk a bit about the options for creating dynamic symmetry and using grids with a square format? I know you touched on it briefly at one point as well but I cant seem to pull the right page up.

  • tavis

    Hi Kyle, I’m glad you’re getting some use out of the articles. I plan to do an article specifically for the square, but until then check out Day 40/365 where you’ll find John Singer Sargent composing inside a square. He uses two Root 4’s to get his dynamic symmetry. The square alone doesn’t have opportunities to create a reciprocal or vertica/horizontals, so using the Root 4’s enables more design and organizational options. Hope that helps! Don’t forget to share with your friends, this stuff needs to get out there because great composition needs to be reignited within art. Happy New Year!

  • lewy

    I ve learnt a lot. thanks for the 365 project

  • Glad to hear that Lewy!

  • tavis

    That’s great to hear Lewy! You’re welcome!

  • Superpsyched about finding your site!! This is awesome !! So in line with how my mind, art, photography is going – well done!

  • tavis

    Awesome, thanks for the comment! I’m really glad I’m not alone 😉

  • This is excellent. It is something that I have studied for awhile and believe in. So good to see you presenting it in such a clear and accessible way. Thank you.

  • tavis

    Thanks Lars, I appreciate the nice comment!

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