Composition – Edit Toward Mindfulness

Best Practices - Photography, Canon Camera, Canon Live View, Journaling, Photography & Conceptualizing Beauty, Project 365 - Photo-a-day, Still Life, Summer
Foundation as Canvas - Utah 1

Foundation as Canvas – Utah 1

Foundation as Canvas - Utah 2

Foundation as Canvas – Utah 2

Foundation as Canvas - Utah 3

Foundation as Canvas – Utah 3

Foundation as Canvas - Utah 4

Foundation as Canvas – Utah 4

Elements of composition were the subject of discussion a day ago. Eight different ideas about composing a photograph were considered – pattern, symmetry, depth of field, lines and leading lines, framing, perspective, balance and colour. We ended at the point of composition being about finding the best way of seeing … the subject. The discussion stayed with me as I edited images later that evening – we also find the best way of seeing the subject in editing as we try out variation in exposure, consider the blur and detail of clarity and consider the depth or wash of contrasts. With each of these considerations as the image is edited we see more and more of what the image holds – things not fully seen or recognized when the right moment to capture the image was recognized. For me, composition and editing toward best composition are about discovering the narrative of the photograph; each edit or potential edit considered increases mindfulness of what’s going on or has happened within the photograph. These images do that.

Again, we are at one of the first stops in our scouting look at southeastern Utah. The foundations of a derelict building are tattooed and tagged with graffiti, foundation walls becoming canvas to expression. What are you mindful of in looking at this canvas (or perhaps an actor’s stage to extend and cross-pollinate metaphors)? What can be extrapolated?

Listening to – some of Dave Brubeck’s ‘Time Out’ and remembering my father and early years at home, sophisticated, challenging music; yet now also with a strong, strong element of home. This morning’s tunes have also included U2’s ‘Songs of Innocence’ – the curious phrase, probably for their young adult children is ‘young, not dumb.’ The morning has also held Coldplay – ‘Always in My Head,’ ‘Midnight’ and ‘Oceans’ among others.

Quote to Consider – “Photographs are a way of imprisoning reality … or they enlarge reality that is felt to be shrunk. One can’t possess reality, one can possess images – one can’t possess the present but one can possess the past.” – Susan Sontag, ‘On Photography’

6 thoughts on “Composition – Edit Toward Mindfulness

  1. The disintegrating structure seems full of human impact, aside from the artwork, the shoes in particular. Yet from the background, it must be far from any town or encampment.

    Did you see those shoes originally, or did they show up as you continued to edit and compose?

    1. Hey there, Laurie:

      The derelict structure was on unfenced land just off the highway. A couple of miles back there was a gun range. Stepping into the site was like stepping on stage and perhaps one that no one is intended to share. My looking around was looking to see, but it was broad stroke, scouting sort of seeing. While I did see shoes, I wouldn’t have recognized intended placement of the shoes, at the time of the photo. The editing has allowed a second sight – to recognize that there’d been intention in leaving the shoes and on the other side of that event, there’s my/our question of why those shoes were left there. Some of the scene’s visual narrative is missing. The background that you see are Utah Mountains and we’re probably no more than an hour to an hour and a half east and southeast from Salt Lake City. July’s weather would be hot and you’d need access to water out here. You’d be alone, not much traffic; you’d find this a place you could seek out as backpacker or hitchhiker for shelter in the night. This would be the second derelict site I’ve taken photos of that have owner-less shoes – perhaps shoes sans owner is a kind of vocabulary for those on the road.

      Are you now on a new bike? I am reading of misty travel. Take care …;)

      1. Love your explanation and appreciate the detailed information. Ownerless shoes … vocabulary of the road. Nice!
        And yes! I’m on the new bike and enjoying it … with great care.

  2. “Photographs are a way of imprisoning reality … or they enlarge reality that is felt to be shrunk. One can’t possess reality, one can possess images – one can’t possess the present but one can possess the past.” – Susan Sontag, ‘On Photography’

    Beautiful quote– gorgeous images!

  3. Unsurprisingly I like Utah 2, monotone foreground with the eye led by colour the hills and mountains, the starkness of the dereliction plays on a kind of lost soul in me. So many places like this draw the losers of shoes perhaps. I found the colour too strong for me in your edit there. But the framing with the door draws me in anyway. I was skulking around Dartmoor last weekend, looking in the old tin mines and around bronze age settlements. A post I’m about to write, having followed the Coffin Road to my bivvie site for the night. Quiet places chosen by someone for a lost purpose. Do you suppose there may even be a shoe guy, leaving random pairs in lost places, waiting to be found? Interesting thought.


    1. Hey there, Jim:

      Lost souls – does that make us searchers, soul-wise? Losers of shoes – reminds of being a loser of glasses, even for short periods. A shoe guy leaving random pairs of shoes in lost places seems like a Douglas Adams kind of character from Dirk Gently with the shoes as an entity being a kind of time or transportation portal as found in Harry Potter.

      Colour too strong – agreed. I’m learning a new editing system. I’m playing with each editing device to gain familiarity and then working through tutorials; it’ll be a while until my intention coincides with skills. For the entirety of my blog, I’ve been working with two different monitors, one warmer in colours and one cooler in colours; most of the images you’ve like have the edit completed on the cooler monitor.

      A quiet place chosen by someone with a lost or former purpose – intrigues and requires imagination. I’ll need to check your post for what the Coffin Road (Corpse Road) is about. 😉

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