I love the history of photography, and consider myself a student of its evolution, and the impact it has had on the world. It represents science, beautiful asthetic, a discipline, and as a way to influence how others view it, and think about it. It can move to tears, joy, and social discourse. Yet, there are many things that can drive a photography amateur, or student, totally crazy. For many years, people in photography have taken up “rules”, for some reason, to assign structure to what really is an art form. “The Rule Of Thirds” is one that has driven me nuts since starting this just a couple of years ago. First off, it assumes a 24x36mm frame, based on compositional theory. “Wait, I shoot medium format, 6×6 square frames”, you say. Ever see someone new to the format position their subject in the lower right part of the frame, leaving most of it with an uninteresting background? You can’t blame people- this is what has been taught, over and over again, in photography, called “rules”- they are, in fact, guidelines. Use them, break them, and don’t be afraid to do so. A subject can be centered in the frame, especially if you are shooting with, say, a Hasselblad. You can always crop in post if you’d like.
Another one- you should shoot only during “the golden hour”- a half hour before or after sunrise or sunset. Come on. I work for a living. And hard for it. Sure, it would be nice to be able to shoot during these times. but, this is 2011. Life moves on, at a breakneck pace. Get out there and shoot, regardless of the time of the day. You’ve got responsibilities, things to do. Work that needs to be done. Sure, you might get some nicer shots outside during these times, but does that mean you should not take the shot? What if you never return to that nice spot you stumbled upon again? Additionally, I live in New England. The light is typically horrible- overly bluish, harsh, and cold looking. It’s usually going to be bad no matter what.
The worst shot is the one you don’t capture. Because someone told you that it isn’t a good time of the day to shoot, or that you should frame your subject a certain way. Here are a few that, while far from my best photographs, were shot at Moore State Park, in midday, with Kodak Plus-X 125, developed in HC-110. There is overexposure, and as you can see, I even took a vertical landscape. What?! Sure, I will go back there again, and even someday, during “the golden hour”. And yes, I may even use that dreaded “Rule of Thirds”. But, these are unique, capturing one moment of time each, that I can never go back to, except through exposed 35mm negatives. Glad I got them.