EYV 1 exercise 1.2
Take two or three photographs in which a single point is placed in different parts of the frame. Then take a number of images in which a point is placed in relationship to the frame.
For the test shots I placed the object (a lemon) in locations that were defined in relation to the other objects in the scene – on a corner of the hamper, in the middle of the stool, beside the foot of the chair. While placing the lemon I didn’t think about its location in relation to the framing of the shot. I thought the images were greatly improved by the addition of the lemon, which provided a point of interest and invited the eye into the image.
For the real shots I turned on the viewfinder grid, selecting a grid that divided the frame into three columns and three rows, and placed the lemon in locations that were defined in relation to the image frame – in the centre of the image, at different points where the gridlines crossed, or at the edge of the frame. When I looked at these shots I immediately recognised that they were better than the test shots – more balanced in their composition and therefore more pleasing.
Test shots (left) vs real shots (right)
When I compared the test and real shots, the difference between the two approaches was extremely clear to see. The real shots are much better because of their overall more balanced composition and the fact that the eye is drawn first to a point of balance within the image by the lemon.
Tracking how the eye moves through the image
The entry point to the images for the eye was determined in each case by the position of the lemon, as this was always the first thing the eye focused on. Partly this was because the lemon was what the exercise was all about so my brain was predisposed to target it, partly it was because the lemon was the one changing element in all the images and our brains are wired to notice change or movement in a scene. But first and foremost it was because – as I have learned through doing this exercise – a point invites the eye’s attention in a scene.
I traced the way my eye moved through three of my images in which the lemon was positioned in different areas of the frame. Although the brief described the movement of the eye through an image as a path, I found that my eye first latched on to the lemon, then widened the scope of its focus to include neighbouring objects by incremental steps until the whole frame was included. I thought this might have been due to the simplicity of the image, so I decided to trace my eye’s movement through some more complex images with more than one focal point, and recorded my findings here in my learning log.
This was a really useful exercise and has given me new insights into composition that I’m looking forward to putting to use in future.