'The Art of Composition' 31 January 2017  

There was a good attendance to welcome Tony Worobiec BA FRPS to the club this week to hear his talk on the “Art of Composition”. TW cliff

TW schoolAfter a brief explanation of how to pronounce his name, he told us of his introduction to photography at the Newbury Camera Club, where he was told about the “Rules” of composition that photographers should follow. On enquiry, he was informed that these rules had come from Art and had been followed by artists for centuries. This came as a surprise to him as he had completed a Fine Arts Degree before teaching Art for several years and had not heard of these “rules”. His subsequent experience has led him to regard these “rules” as Design Principles which can be used (or not) to convey the message that the photographer wants to communicate.
His talk then progressed through a range of composition principles he has used, accompanied by his brilliant photographs to demonstrate his points.

Tony started with the ubiquitous Rule of Thirds, explaining that this had originated in the Golden Ratio, or Section, devised by ancient Greek mathematicians. He explained that the Golden Ratio is actually 61.8% rather than 66% (two thirds), so subjects on the Third will not necessarily be in the right place anyway! He covered variations, such as the Golden Triangle and the Golden Spiral (formulated by Fibonacci). He also showed how the balance of colours by thirds will work well illustrated with an image of 2 red tulips on thin yellow/green stems with a strong blue background.
TW tulipsHe talked about using shapes, tones and lines in composition and showed several examples of leading lines, converging lines and strong diagonals to provide great images without having subjects on the Thirds.
Tony moved further away from the Thirds “rule” showing strong images where the subject was on the edge of the composition to emphasis space or threat, especially with large skies. TW pierHe encouraged the use of intuitive instincts, rather than “rules” to convey the message in your images. Balancing the subject of an image with elements in other parts of composition, matching elements in the foreground with those in the background, as in an image of a road sign with chevrons that mirrored the pattern of the rocks in the hillside in the background.

Also against conventional wisdom, Tony showed that a subject can be placed in the middle of the frame, as long the surrounding elements are not symmetrical. He also suggested that the choice of crop, and the orientation, landscape or portrait, can also be important for a composition. Square format also can work very well, especially when presenting abstract images with little structure or pattern.

There were other Design Principles that Tony talked about, such minimalistic compositions, silhouettes and using hi-key and lo-key depending on the mood one wants to convey.
There was so much information that Tony wanted to cover that he ran out of time to complete all his material. Even so, I think all those who attended went away with some new thoughts and ideas and a fresh perspective on photography composition.
I think we would all like to thank Tony for a very informative evening, extremely well presented by someone who obviously has a passion for his subject. I, for one, am looking forward to hearing him speak again in the future. DF
Tony Worobiec website            Images © Tony Worobiec