From Larry Sultan’s “Pictures From Home” Series
Larry’s father is not perfectly centered or perfectly kept to the right in this image, but the floaty and window frame make it work. I love the way the floaty carries us from the right side of the image into the center, and then the image is broken up by the window frame. The window frames his father, and we gather that he is what we’re meant to look at.
Though reading articles like this can help, I firmly believe composition is something we learn through practice and study. Studying the work of successful photographers and going out to shoot are the best ways to understand composition. Lucky for us photographers, studying the work of other photographers is often fun, interesting, and life-giving. It is a joy to experience their images and learn from them. The same goes for the process of shooting. Even if you get home without a single usable image, the experience of making photographs is fruitful. You learned something new through troubleshooting and it’s very likely that the next time you go out with your camera, you’ll make something beautiful.