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Breaking the Rules


Finding Your Own Voice


With the absence of color, the medium of black and white photography is and always will be a unique form of photographic expression, demanding paramount attention to aesthetics. Light, shadow, form and texture coalesce in a confined visual space, communicating the essence of a mood, place, emotion, or a moment with its own special visceral language.

Over the past 150 or so years, millions upon millions of photographs have been taken.

What makes some images more noteworthy and memorable than others is the unique “voice” of an image or artist.

In my early photographic education, I was taught that good photography was about learning and following the formal rules of composition, design and process. These rules were established as proven aesthetic principles to assist in the organization and creation of successful imagery. Without question I thought that a good photographic image must be properly exposed and sharply focused. I knew that composition should fall into the “Rule of Thirds”, and the elements of line, shape, form, texture, light and shadow were essential to good design. While it is true that a sharply focused image with a proper range of exposure values, composed with one or more of the standard principles, can indeed be a worthy goal. There are still no guaranteed step....


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