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Leyendo “The Photographic Eye: Learning to See with a Camera” by Michael F. O’Brien. 

All of the following are extracts from “The Photographic Eye: Learning to See with a Camera” by Michael F. O’Brien. 

Chapters 1 to 3

What is Composition?

  • Composition is the arrangement of visual elements within the frame of a photograph.
  • Elements in photography: line, texture, shape, light, motion and perspective.
  • Structure, balance and dynamics define the composition of a photograph as a whole.
  • Structural elements: line, shape and position (the placement of an object within a composition).
  • Balance is an equal relationship between two or more things.
  • Non-structural elements: texture, light, motion and perspective.
  • Shape: positive space and negative space.

  • Dynamics are about movement, specifically the movement of a viewer’s eye as it explores a photograph. What dynamics are about is generating and holding interest by directing the eye around the photograph. Dynamics can be enhanced through the use of lines and implied lines. At its best, the dynamics of a photograph bind all of the various elements together.

    While they may work alone, balance and dynamics often work together. A photograph conveys static balance when its subjects are of equal weight and appear immobile, “frozen.” Static balance is essentially balance without strong dynamics. In a statically balanced photograph, the viewer’s eye tends to take in everything all at once, without moving around the frame. This can be effec- tive if the subject and composition so interesting that they hold the viewer’s interest on their own. Portraits of people with especially interesting faces or expressions often employ static balance. A photograph achieves dynamic balance when its subjects are positioned to encourage the eye to move around within the frame.

    Homework: research this names


    Alfred Stieglitz

    Dorothea Lange

    Walk- er Evans


    James Van Der Zee:


    Andre Kertesz

    Eugene Atget


    Henri Carder- Bresson (1908 – 2004)

    Edward Steichen

    Minor White

    Sebastiao Salgado

    Edward Weston

    Ansel Adams

    Diane Arbus

    Ernst Haas

    Eugene Richards

    Manuel Alvarez Bravo

    Arnold Newman

    Minor White

    Yousef Karsh

    Peter Henry Emerson

    Eadweard Muybridge

    Margaret Bourke-White

    Bane Kapsu

    “A flair for the exotic and a sophisticated sense of humor are important assets in fashion photography. Photograph by Bane Kapsu.”

    -Michael F. O’Brien

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