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Personal Peals of Wisdom: Right Smack Dab in the Middle

Right smack dab in the middle.

Since I started my photography career right after the dinosaurs disappeared, there was no information highway to get information from. I shot the way I felt when a photo op came my way without thinking about anything but what I had (subconsciously) learned studying painting and design practically my entire life.

There weren’t any rules for photographers to follow back then, or if there were I didn’t know about them; and wouldn’t have paid attention to them anyway. After teaching an online class with the BPSOP for the past six years and conducting my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops for the last thirty-three years, I’ve been a promoter of the idea that rules are a hindrance to creativity and the shackles of originality. There are countless rules one can read about simply by Googling up rules for Photography, but I won’t help you on that.

Who writes these rules anyway? When I click on some they’re all the same insipid articles with some changes in grammar and vocabulary. My guess is that there are photographers out there trying to become immortal and trying to stretch their fifteen minutes of fame into an eternity. I can tell you that this is one photographer’s name that you’ll never see among the others.

I’m thinking about writing an article for the internet and calling it the Anti-Rules for Proper Photography. It will contain everything you ever wanted to know about taking your own path and just letting your imagination be your guide; not some silly rules that can only lead you down a one way path to photo boredom. Or perhaps you won’t ever make it all the way to the end but wind up in some strange creative photography purgatory…YIKES that’s a sobering thought.

Here’s an example of one of my Anti-Rules: Put your subject right smack dab in the middle. How’s that for an Anti-Rule?

The first thing you’ll have to shake off is this dumb rule that’s called The Rule of Thirds, and for those of you that just can’t get it out of your mind and you need help to de-program, there’s photo therapy out there and it’s called a workshop; specifically my workshops…where you’ll see no rules attached. Actually, Ansel Adams said it best, “There are no rules for good pictures, there’s just good pictures”.

On day one we’ll work on my first anti-rule then work on all the others the internet has helped to brainwash all my fellow photographers. We’ll stand side by side in case you start to feel woozy (perfectly normal) and I’ll watch as you put your subject right smack dab in the middle of your frame. It will be hard at first, but once you realize that the difference between doing this and following the Rule of Thirds is the difference between you’re photo being remembered because of the visual interest and tension and it falling through the cracks leaving you in a state of mediocrity.

Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and be sure to check out my upcoming workshops. Come shoot with me sometime.

Send me a photo and question to: AskJoeB@gmail.com, and I’ll create a video critique for you.


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