No Rules in Art

January 12, 2018  •  5 Comments

I think I am a rule follower and get the need for structure. But I question the need for rules in art. Guidelines yes, best practices maybe. Art is so subjective how can we apply rules? With the overwhelming volume of photographs today how do you stand out when following all the same rules?

Considering the rule of thirds, it always confused me. It seems ..well vague! What part of the subject intersects? What if the subject is negative space? What if the eye is cropped out? What part is then the focus or should be intersected? Really.. how far off the grid can/should things be?  Is a smidge over the line acceptable?  How big can that smidge or subject be? What about those awesome centered pieces? In a critic or judging is the art just thrown out, considered a terrible piece of work if it is not exactly where on the grid? This rule leaves me with more questions and lots of cropping anxiety.. Here? UUUHH how about here?  It is enough to create a state of paralysis.

This week I am sharing my latest brain tease with the rule of thirds. Now I am not sure if it is being applied in this series. It was considered a lot..maybe too much. Are they complying to the rule of thirds or are they bending that rule?  What rule do they follow if any?  My goal was to have them look like old photos and have a uniqueness to them with a little tension. The water droplets, the dogs poses all just seem to work(in my mind anyway). Especially the crops showing the dog jumping in or out of the frame like a dance. The feeling I get when looking at them is like finding old photos at a flea market.

This grouping is a personal project and work in progress.  My most recent thought is to attempt motion blur..would that work? What would it feel like? It was so much fun creating them and planning how to present them. The feeling of total immersion had engulfed me. You know the feeling when time passes so quickly while you are lost in your work. I learned something from them and look forward to adding to this collection on each trip to the river. 

Putting these in my photo journal I wondered if this would be the end of them or if they would find new life in yet another form or project. Looking for justification to my indecision on this rule and the selected cropping I leave you with this quote:

Breaking rules for the sake of breaking rules isn’t usually art; it’s just anarchy. And following rules for the sake of following rules is just mindless conformity.  BooksCraft & VisionCreativity and InspirationPep TalksRants and SermonsThoughts & Theory by David Duchemin 

I do wonder is this work anarchy?  Certainly with all the questions and struggles to crop them it was not mindless!

BTW if you do not own the book "The Visual Toolbox" by David Duchemin you are seriously missing out. It, in MHO, belongs in every artists library. 

Don't forget to check out this link for more thoughts and art on the rule of thirds..Tara Sutherland | Boutique Pet Photography in New Zealand 

 

 

 


Comments

Nancy(non-registered)
Thanks for sharing these gorgeous images! I like to consider rules too as simply a suggestion. . .giving myself liberty to move toward or away from them as the individual images pulls.
Kelly(non-registered)
Great photos- keep walking the line between anarchy and conformity!
Elaine(non-registered)
Edgy and interesting photography work here. I love the wet, dripping paws in the air photo.
Lynda(non-registered)
Thanks. A good thought provoking blog. Art is very subjective. Stick with what you love and push the boundaries.....of which there really are none
Ashley Siemon(non-registered)
You raise some good points! Having just graduated art school, we always talked about placing the focal point not directly on the intersecting lines in the rule of thirds, but just outside of them towards the corner. In the end, it’s just one composition technique of many. I’ll definitely be looking into that book!
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