Compositional Integrity

In today’s post we will look at the (mostly autumn) work of five great photographers. I purposely sought out landscape work that was made primarily with wide to normal lenses. I did not look for unusual compositions or traditional, I instead looked at pictures entirely in a visceral sense. I wanted my instinctual reaction to lead me. Each of these pictures was selected within seconds of my first viewing. I originally gave no thought to composition, light or anything else. I viewed around twenty pictures saving or forgetting them immediately. These images say something about me. I love landscape photography and the first images that appeal to me, are not the most unusual in their compositional order among those I viewed, but they are all very unique. I guess my favorite landscape photos do not fall into the realm of the abstract, but they all contain a personal and individualistic statement by the artist.

My first selection is the only one that does not relate to the season (my favorite) of autumn. Michael Lucas is the image maker and I have nothing but love for this composition. The big tree on our left and the detail created by the light, sets the tone for a very powerful landscape composition. One criteria I use for how I feel about any given landscape is do I wish I was there when the picture was made? I do!!1Michael Lucas

Good golly this is a powerful (to me) image. I am grateful that Candace DeFreece-Dyar had no fear of that amazing backlight. This image would have been impossible before digital, as she manages to keep some detail in the foreground despite the direction of the light. Compositionally, her decision to shoot from this position with the strongest light to our upper left and waffling into the image space, makes this picture about perfect. Once again, wouldn’t you just want to have been there?2Candace DeFreece-Dyar

Once again composing the light is ever so important with these inter-forest pictures. Jack Graham made this wonderful picture in Ohio and his choice of a vertical comp, which composed the light not only to strike those leaves in the upper center of the frame, but also delicately bringing light to a select few areas within the heart of the image is excellent. When I find scenes like this, I never want to leave.3Jack Graham Ohio

Karen Hutton created this compositional gem. Once again the use of strong backlight with long shadows and a sun star, is a compositional one. How you place both light and shadow within a scene, are both compositional choices. I love how this image “opens up” into the world. I would enjoy a couple of hours on that hammock more than I can tell you.4KarenHutton

None of use lives our life outdoors, but if you’ve got a great window……well you can sort of stay outside permanently. As a photographer, we first have to recognize a great picture to make it, and thank you Peter Burian for doing just that. His decision to not shoot straight through those great windows helps us to enjoy the wonderful sweeping line that they make. The inclusion of the table, with the light from the actual outdoor scene we are viewing illuminating it, was brilliant. It sets this scene in the context of the house. Now come on, on a chilly autumn day wouldn’t you just want to sit at that table, maybe with a cup of hot chocolate or cider, and daydream the day away?5Peter K. Burian

It is photographers like those above, who don’t worry about whether they compose an image in an abstract fashion, or a traditional one, that wind up making the most unusual pictures, which then reflect their own tastes and artistry.

Make it personal

I’ll depart today with an image of my own. Autumn is a macro season as much as it is a season of landscapes. Remember, the fall season lasts a lot longer for macros than it does for landscapes. Finding compositions that work, is just as important in the miniature world as it is in the big one. Compositional integrity means making your own statement, and that is what makes it personal.6untitled

Have a special day,                                                                                                                           Wayne



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