For this week’s photo study, I decided to continue with Ian’s creative composition posts as they seem to be an ideal way to revisit basic elements of composition and explore how to incorporate them into street photography.  He begins the second positing with noting the importance of slowing down with intentional “seeing” as a foundation to finding the ideal background and good light and then deciding to or not to press the shutter.

via Creative Composition in Street Photography – Part Two

Photography is not what’s important. It’s seeing.
The camera, film, even pictures, are not important.
~Algimantas Kezys (cited: H Zehr, The Little Book of Contemplative Photography)

Setting the Stage, Timing the Steps (fishing)  Ian writes, “The key concept for this approach is to establish the static elements in your frame first (i.e. background and light), then patiently work to add interesting dynamic elements by moving close and far, exploring various angles, adjusting the camera’s settings, and finally with patience waiting for the person who fits into your story to walk on your stage.


Frame within a Frame  Create a frame within the image through the use of doorways, windows, window displays, trees, or any object that creates a frame around your subject.


Leading Lines  Drawing the viewer’s eye is an important compositional element  especially when lines converge toward each other and draw the eye to the subject.  I found that the gaze of both the man and the dog create an implied line as well as invite a story.


Juxtaposition  Ian describes juxtaposition is where two adjacent objects appear to contrast with each other, as within the image below.   The person in the foreground leans to the left opening us to the elderly man in the midground who is leading left.  The Starbucks coffee cup in the center adds a social justice element as well as a contrast to both men.


Perspective – create high-angle images by standing on stairs, platforms, balconies or low-angle photos by  getting close to the ground and shooting upwards.


Scale  Images where the subject is dwarfed by the environment seems to be a way of introducing feeling into the image and drawing the eye to the person within the frame.


Color  Color intermixed with light, shadows, and silhouettes have the potential to create unique photographs that nudge images away from the photojournalism and documentary genre.


Reflections  Entire stories can be created through the layers that are created when photographing through glass.


Light and Shadows  Using your exposure compensation to drop the exposure on the frame (which protects the highlights while creating wonderful deep shadows) will create amazing interactions of shadows, light, and silhouettes.


The Candid Frame  Within “Less than Obvious”, Ibarionex encourages us to open ourselves to “seeing” the world’s amazing detail and “being” intentional before we press the shutter.

I hope you find Ian’s educational blog and the Candid Frame to be an invaluable sources of information as well as doorways to a world of creative possibilities.  I’m looking forward to seeing your creative work as well as reading your throughs about the use of basic composition elements into street photograph.  Let’s tag with #aphotostudy.  Until next week…

rippling reflections….Nikon D750   f/4.8  1/250   62mm   800 ISO

The weeping willows stand east of the curtained bowers;
Orioles and butterflies pass through the faded flowers.
But peach blossoms on Cold Food Day are beautified
By beauties living or buried by the lakeside.

~Liu Rushi

The other day, while wandering about YouTube, I stumble upon a Chinese movie, “Liu Ru Shi,” and was memorized by the story of her life’s journey within the Ming and Qing Dynasties.

The amazing cinematography that went into the telling of Liu Rushi’s life introduced me to a woman who is known as one of the “Eight Beauties of Qinhuai.” She was celebrated in her time for her beauty and talents and later appreciated and cherished for her integrity and patriotism.

Liu Rushi was not her original name, but a name she gave herself from one of her favorite poems written by Xin Qiji of the Song Dynasty (960-1279).

The movie begins at the time she was sold by her family to a prostitute as a stepdaughter and then, as a maidservant, to a rich scholar family. During the time in the Zhou household, she was educated in literature, poetry, music, calligraphy and painting. When Zhou died, she returned to a brothel when his wife and concubines threw her out of the home.

Liu often dressed as man, writing poems and discussing current affairs with scholars. She developed close relationships with a number of scholars such as Li Daiwen, Zong Zhengyu and Chen Zilong. She and Chen Zilong became romantically close; yet, when she learned that marriage was not an option he could consider she ended the relationship.

Years later, Liu introduced herself at home of Qian Qianyi, a well-known scholar and retired official, dressed in men’s clothing. Three years after their initial meeting Qian, in his late 50s, chose to disregard social norms and they married.  The movie illustrates a close and supportive marriage, the events that occurred during her pregnancy with their daughter, and the struggles they experienced as the rebels entered Beijing and the Qing Dynasty took control.

Liu committed suicided a few months after Qian, 83 years of age, passed away.

Willow feathers fly into dream
Smoky moon brings out sorrow
From the moment I was thrown into the dusty world
I have experienced so many things and met so many people
So many crossroads
So much helplessness
Now I know that we will never understand
All the things happening around
Therefore I spent my whole life
To clean up the dusts my desires collected
Then I can be worry free and back to calmness.

Note:  While trying to find published works of Liu Rushi’s poems I learned that she had some of her writings published alongside her husband’s.  Yet, my research has not been very fruitful.  If you know of any English translations, I would appreciate hearing from you.


Nick Cave and Warren Ellis create film and theatre scores that are elegantly minimal, hauntingly beautiful and instantly recognisable as theirs alone. Full of light and shade, creeping dread and inconsolable yearning, these heavily instrumental sound paintings inject aching humanity into ghostly frontier towns, parched desert vistas and post-apocalyptic war zones. Most are built around the duo’s intertwined piano and violin melodies, with sporadic use of guitar, flute, mandolin, celeste, percussion and other elements. Vocals are rare and sparing. But even without lyrics, they are always lyrical.

…once someone had been in your life – you could keep that person there despite the agony of loss, as long as you had faith that you could bring the sum of all your hours together in one shining moment.

~Stones from the River, Ursula Hegi


This image of a bridal shop window is the 15th of 15 images submitted to  Seeing Differently.  Below are some of the other images posted in response to Robyn’s October challenge. Thank you Robyn for this challenging project and your supportive feedback.

…our ordinary vision is limited…our conventional consensus of reality is not the only version of reality…the mind…in its attempt to provide meaning (security), continually rearranges the world to fit individual needs.  The failure to recognize the constructive nature of the mind can be a major obstacle to artistry and creativity.

~Tao of Photography, Gross & Shapiro


a mirrored walkway…submitted for Robyn’s Seeing Differently photo challenge for October.

Jung describes synchronicity as a meaningful coincidence of two or more events, where something other than the probability of chance is involved. …The critical factor is the meaning, the subjective experience that comes to the person: events are connected in a meaningful way, that is, events of the inner and outer world, the invisible and the tangible, the mind and the physical universe. This coming together at the right moment can happen only without the conscious intervention of the ego. …it is as though the psyche had its own secret design…

~The Essence of Jung Psychology and Tibetan Buddhism, Radmila Moacanin


I find myself drawn to photograph people who seemingly are within their own worlds as they wander, interact, mingle within the public realm.  Yet, sometimes the eye is drawn towards the amazing abstract paintings light creates within the window canvas.

Seeing Differently is an October challenge proposed by Robyn.