Practice on Composition

As part of experimentation, I also found some good photographs, that for me, had some interesting composition.

Take a look. What do you think ?






Experimental Photos (Telling A Story)

Upon returning from my expedition to Taman Negara, I was scanning through my photographs and found some good ones that communicated the theme of motion. I don’t think I will be using these for my montage, since I already have taken some other photos with a different theme. They aren’t as clear because I used a regular small camera, so don’t blame me.

I find these good practice for the other photographs I will be taking later on for my montage, as in this expedition, we were moving extremely fast on all sorts of boat rides or trying to catch some fast moving fish in the river. We were all already tired enough, so this photography session proved to be challenging !

For a little bit of background, let me tell you what I mean by  “communicating the theme of motion”. For me, it’s not about transportation and vehicles that are precious and worth capturing. In my opinion, capturing what the transportation causes is a more definitive form to communicate motion. Still motion, for me, is rather boring. Capturing something that is rather blurred out, for me, feels like there is more motion. It’s about capturing something that the naked eye doesn’t see easily, like when you stop the time. Motion needs to tell a story, and for me, that’s how you do it. This will be discussed more in detail in my next post – the plan for the montage.

Over here, I have uploaded a lot of experimental photos, so browse through them. Please note that some of them were taken at different times, such as last month and even half a year ago.














Composition Matters

Composition. It’s something that we always incorporate into our photography, yet we never realize that we implement the rules of composition. For me, composition is about the skill of knowing how to seemingly fit each and every element of your scene into a photograph to make it seem stunning and perfectly done. We all experiment, don’t we ? We try and focus on our subject, change the angle or viewpoint we look at things, and even change our shutter speed and aperture in order to get those precious moments sharp and clear. According to, here are the ten major composition rules, and from my opinion, you will need to master the first nine to master the last rule – experimentation. Here are the ten rules and the pictures for each rule from the website. The link is attached below. (Note: The description is my own understanding of the rules.) No copyright intended.

Rule of Thirds – The fact that your subject is not exactly at the center point of the 3 x 3 grid but rather on the lines of the center square adds some balance and interest to the photograph.                      Lighthouse with rule of thirds grid

Balance – When you have your rule of thirds, you need something to ensure that your subject doesn’t become the only thing in the photo. Something needs to ensure the effect isn’t too big. That’s balance.Road sign with building behind

Leading Lines – Lines are something that really draw us into a photograph, which is why for my photo montage, where we are following the theme of motion, I am really focused on making lines and shapes. Going back to the topic, lines capture the eyes very well, especially when they are unique, Lines like zigzags, curves, and diagonals will really help in boosting the interest and therefore the composition of your photograph.                                Road winding through mountains

Symmetry and Pattern – Having an obvious focus point can bring about unexpected compositions, even if we think that symmetry is just plain boring. Objects  both natural and man made will produce some fancy photography.           Chapel entrance

Viewpoint – Often, we just decide to take things from their perspective at the front, which often gets boring. Take time to think about where you can get the most unique views that no one else can easily experience – just like what we touched on last quarter, where the unexpected brings upon curiosity towards photography. Think about a place which seems like Utopia and looks abstract; the leading lines, balance and patterns will naturally come into place.Man sitting on beach photographed from above

Background – Often the background interrupts with the balance of a photograph, because what is in the back often  influences where in the photograph we look.Therefore, finding a suitable background is key in creating a focus.  Female violinist

Depth – It something that we often lack, yet it makes it seem realistic, making us feel like we are actually in it ourselves. Layers also help in creating depth as the eye naturally thinks that depth is present.  Sheep in field will misty hills in the background

Framing – Focus is not always a key. Ensuring that the objects around us such as trees become the perfect frame for our photography. This also helps in “leaving the subject alone” and giving it more impact.Lake framed by hills either side

Cropping – Although this is more of an editing technique (for those that are “original” photographers), cropping helps eliminated the background, which is where that element comes into place. Cropping is technically not an editing technique anyways, in my opinion, because it’s just cutting the photo up and presenting a section of it, where we eliminate what we dislike and keep the focus alive.                                                Ceramic ornaments of characters hugging

Experimentation – With a modern age of photography constantly being on the rise, there is no worry about running out of film or having too less shots to experiment. Describing experimentation in three words ? Easy. TRY AND TRY. A balance of all nine is essential to know WHAT IS SUITABLE AND WHAT ISN’T. Only then can you do an effective type of experimentation.                               Lone tree in field illuminated with golden light

Now, let’s take a look at the photo montage. Composition really matters in a photo montage because we need to know what is the best place to place things into it to make it seem stunning, realistic and yet abstract. It needs to be perfectly fitted, and each and every element MUST be considered. That is why I defined composition as a art where you fit pieces together above; it’s just like cooking, where you mix and match with your ingredients and the different brands of food until you get that stunning combination of flavors that your adore. With photography, knowing what goes where helps enhance your message.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 What will you be composing  today ?


 “10 Top Photography Composition Rules.” Photography Mad. Photography Mad, n.d. Web. 25 Apr. 2015.

(For those that want the link:

The Look Of A Professional – David Hockney

Born in 1937 in Bradford, England, David Hockney attended an art school in London. He studied at the College of Art in Bradford from 1953 to 1957 and finished his studies at the Royal College of Art in 1962. In the 1960s, he moved to Los Angeles. Here, he had access to many swimming pools, which he painted, eventually garnering attention. Most of his early works were filled with Expressionist elements, before moving on to pop art. After that, Hockney taught in places such as Colorado, Iowa and Berkeley.

Using a Polaroid camera, he captured “Shower Pictures” using his acrylic. Now, I have decided that it does not look suitable at all. However, if you are really curious, you can go and have a look. Moving on, in the 1970s, he also did stage design for performances such as “The Magic Flute” by Mozart in 1978 at the Glyndebourne Opera.

Most of his montages came about in the late 70s, where we combined many Polaroid shots to form “photo joiners”. The work is relatively abstract and looks like one of Picasso’s Cubist works. In the late 80s, he did media work.

Here are a few montages by Hockney and my short response to each of them.


This montage feels like there is a boy exploring the environment around him. The boxes that surround him look very magical, for me, like floating pieces. The tree looks rather mystical with no leaves on it.


This looks really abstract and make what seems like an original photograph very geometrical and complex. It feels like the world is coming to an end, because the blue roof figure on the left looks as if it is crashing down. The whole thing looks weird but works.


(Pearlblossom Highway by David Hockney)

The many stop signs make me wonder if this is a stranded land which no one has gone to. It makes me tempted to go there, and all of the visible lines make it seem as if there is something new there, something fresh and something that will take me by huge surprise.

According to The Guardian, Hockney always remains enthusiastic in his artwork, regardless of his age, constantly challenging viewers to broaden their minds. His art speaks for itself. Although he is in 70s, his enthusiasm is like that of a young boy, and what we should consider when taking on anything.

Useful Links/References:

“David Hockney Biography – Infos – Art Market.” Art Directory. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Apr. 2015.

Kermode, Mark. “Hockney Review – an Intimate Portrait of the Artist as an Old Man.” The Guardian. The Guardian, 30 Nov. 2014. Web. 09 Apr. 2015.

Another Look At The Butterfly Effect (Photo Montage II)

Earlier on in this journal, I discussed about the butterfly effect. The butterfly effect could apply to photography, but what happens when it comes to the photo montage ? In this post, we will be discussing the question “How can small things change the world ?” through the aspect of the photo montage.

I have mentioned that some scientists predict that if the temperature was to go up by five degrees Celcius, most or all species would become extinct. Juxtaposition is something very interesting, because we get different perspectives into the subject, which is why a montage enhances the message of the original photograph. Some photographers, when composing montages, use different lighting but the same setting and place. Basically, it starts off with a photograph, but using different tones and a rather grid-like artwork could mean a lot. Let’s take a look at one of David Hockney’s montages.

hockney photo montage


If you look carefully at this montage, you can see that the wall uses different tones, while half of the tree is in bright sunlight, while the other half is rather shadowed. From the original photograph, it could mean something about the hustle and bustle of the city, development of the city or tranquility, since there are only two cars. However, with the changes, it could mean something like confrontation due to different tones in juxtaposition, or even something like pollution or vandalization, due to the different colours present in the wall. It could even mean something like a silent fight that no one knows about, whether internal or external, like someone trapped in an apartment above the walls, with risk of death, or someone being kidnapped in the car.

Through small changes, the photograph can change by so much, from a peaceful theme to such a deep and concealed message. Now, how do small things change your world ? Some may never know.

Here is a result of the annotation activity we did in class on our task sheet.

Task Description

Note: Keywords definition is under the “Understanding Photography” page.