At our club completion on May 20th there was a comment on one of the images that it was lacking a Center of Interest (COI). I thought it was a very nice image so it got me to thinking; must a photograph have a specific COI in order to be successful? I can understand not wanting two COI’s or anything that competes with the COI, but what if a photograph does not have that single element that calls attention to itself. Does that mean that there is no COI? Or does it just mean that there is more to the COI than what at first is obvious? I am always concerned about rules that are passed off as gospel. Comes from reading way too much Emerson.
Questions always lead to the Internet. I am attaching links to two articles that I found, both of which are excellent. Neither addresses my question specifically.
From Photo Composition Web Site [worth bookmarking]
Basic Photographic Techniques: Center of Interest
From The Artists Magazine
Focal Point vs. Center of Interest
September 01, 2007 by Greg Albert
I also spent some tme browsing through nature sites looking for images that I thought were very successful that did not appear to have a specific COI. It was not difficult to quickly find thirty-six examples that met the criteria.
I can’t think of another genre of photography where you can produce a photograph, which I would consider successful without a COI, other than nature. But I do believe that in nature it is possible to do that. I found photographs of fields of flowers, grasses, grains, trees, tree bark, sand patterns, geological formations, rock textures, water reflections, a number of different subjects that can be photographed very successfully with no specific element in the image calling attention directly to itself.
I guess what I am trying to say is that there are reasons for rules of composition, but locking your thinking into only one mindset sometimes can prevent you from expanding what you are able to see as good photography. Here is a line from a poem that I enjoy, “Why do you walk through the field in gloves, missing so much, so much?”