If we could but paint with the hand what we see with the eye.–Honore de Balzac
The Rule of Thirds is all about the eye. (Click on this link to learn more about this “rule” for composing visual images.) When looking at an image, our eyes don’t like to focus on one spot. They like motion. They like to focus on a central point and then move around the image. They like contrast and varying shapes–like straight lines and spirals. In this post, I’ll share a recent experiment with the rule of thirds for this week’s photo challenge. I shot these images over the weekend in New York City when we were visiting a dear relative who is quite ill. This also is why I’m posting later than usual.
On our way downtown to his apartment, we stopped at the New York Historical Society, which had a wonderful exhibit of Annie Lebovitz’s work. Instead of using staged models, Leibovitz visited over a dozen sites around the world, which were personally meaningful for her. Her images include Ralph Waldo Emerson’s library in Concord, Massachusetts and Thomas Jefferson’s vegetable garden at Montecello. Her work is charged with an emotional energy and a keen eye for color, detail and shapes, transforming an ordinary shot into a work of art. In the shot below of Niagara Falls, she captures the varying shades of green and the beautiful interplay of curved and straight lines:
What do you think? Is this shot visually interesting even though the sculpture occupies most of the frame?
Here’s another shot taken of a piece of sculpture in my relative’s apartment. I set the sculpture by a large window. In the distance, you can see the apartment windows across the courtyard. In this case, the sculpture occupies much less space in the frame and is off-center. Is there enough contrast between the foreground and background to make it visually appealing? Do the strong horizontal and vertical lines across the image add to or detract from the shot? I used the burn tool to darken the background a bit and the dodge tool to brighten the left side of the woman’s face. What do you think of the final version?
Thanks, as always, for your comments and have a wonderful week!