Sunday, August 21, 2016

A New Book, The Rule of Thirds and SOOC

Received a new book today, Rick Sammon’s Creative Visualization for Photographers. No, I haven’t read it yet but in browsing I have found a few things that to me are interesting…

First, I have recently been considering the thought that photography is presently in a period somewhat similar to the period of time when the f/64 School came to dominate Pictorialism which actually died early in the second decade of the Twentieth Century but amateurs continued the practice until well into the 1940’s. Actually we have been in this new phase for a while, everywhere except in much of amateur photography.A similar time frame may not be required for the current changes. However, it just might.

I am not sure which I find the silliest, the Rule of Thirds or SOOC but they both have their diehard enthusiasts.

Sammons at one point, I can’t find it again to do a direct quote, briefly suggests that reality in photography is dead—well, what so many photographers think of as reality (it’s actually verisimilitude, an illusion of reality). He tells a story that was relayed to him by an assistant of Ancel Adams (a member of the original f/64 Group). Apparently Ancel received a letter from one of his fans that had recently visited Yosemite. The fan wrote that he owned all of Ancel's books and was very enamored with the photography. However, on visiting Yosemite he had become very disappointed—to quote—“…the park doesn’t look that way”. Of course, it doesn’t. Being a member of f/64 did not stop Adams from applying the creative processes to his photography. So as much as many would like to think of f/64 as SOOC, it was a long, long way from it. I own two Ancel Adams prints—they are dark and moody, just like a Woodard.

There is also a photograph Sammons took of an African lion approaching through a field of tall grass. The original image placed the lion on the Rule of Thirds—the ‘corrected, enhanced, final’ version is cropped to place the lion DEAD CENTER. Oh my, oh my the sky if falling, the sky is falling—a photograph so perfectly composed ruined by moving the subject matter dead center. If we were not approaching the end times already that is sure to cinch it. We must all crawl under the bed.

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