Michael Freeman is a british photographer who specializes in Asian culture, architecture and archeology. He has worked for major international book publishers and magazines. He has also worked for the Smithsonian Magazine for more than three decades and published more than 40 assignment stories.
Not only is he a well known photographer but he is also a writer and journalist. His books contain photographs of himself, but he also writes on the subject of photography. One of these books is “The Photographer’s Eye” that I will discuss in this blog.
Very often you’ll find books that describe the technical aspects of the camera. Sort of ‘how to use’ books. Things like:
- What kind of lens should you use
- The effects of aperture and shutter speed
- Color balance
- The use of of camera flash light
This is all very useful stuff, but you rarely ever see books that focus on the less technical aspects of photography like for example, composition. It takes more than sharp focus and correct lighting to turn ordinary photographs into something special. So what does it take to take a good photograph? Although this is a question that cannot be answered so easily, if it can be answered at all, Michael Freeman does a good job in describing the basic principles of good composition. He gives insights into:
- How to frame the image
- Design principles like balance and tension in the framing
- Viewing lines
- Rhythm in the image
- Color in composition
- Perspective and depth
- Intention of a photograph
The book tells you how to take better photographs. A framework of composition ideas if you will, that you can use to your own liking. These aren’t hard rules or anything, but it will make your understanding of what makes a picture work, larger. There’s also a chapter dedicated to the process in taking pictures, with cases studies.
I think this book fills a gap on the market and is a very good step into taking good photographs.
The only thing I was missing was how compositional rules contribute to the ideas that you want to communicate. A technically correct picture is a beginning, a good composition makes the photograph more powerful. But a photograph that conveys a specific idea or concept takes photography to another level. Perhaps I will save this subject for another blog, but in the meantime, I would like to know what you think that makes a good photograph?