All The World’s A Stage – photography exhibition (to 28 May 2013)

This small exhibition at the Apex in Bury St Edmunds was worth popping into. As the blurb says: “This exciting exhibition challenges the viewer to look again at that which we take for granted.”

Much of the work was of Suffolk imagery and places I know – so it was intriguing to see that when  eyes are truly open there are  different ways to see and interpret the familiar.

Exibitors included Graham Portlock, Steve Stoddart, Scarlet Monahan, Penny Morgan, Dibs McCallum (Dibley), Paul Cooklin and Ben Mathers.


This photograph by Graham Portlock really caught my eye. He says: “For me, photography is all about observing – having the ‘eye’ for a potentially good shot that has gone unnoticed by others, and then interpreting it with strength and style, without any visual distraction.”

Full Stretch, photograph by Graham Portlock

Do the ‘rules’ of photographic composition apply to drawing and painting?

I’d just finished a short online ‘Crash course in photographic composition’ so this exhibition was a good chance to observe  techniques I’d just been learning about such as rule of thirds, golden ratio, leading lines etc. Of course I write this with the knowledge that not everyone agrees with these rules, and that rules are there to be broken. I found them useful tools but  I can see that sometimes they might lead to almost ‘formulaic’ photography and stifle experimentation… Of course the subject matter, the point and reason for the photograph, matters most.

By the way, this three week online course from New York Photographer Frank Wong was fantastic value (just US$18 including personal critiques on three assignments) – delivered via and very highly recommended.

I’m now asking myself whether the ‘rules’ of photographic composition apply to drawing? I expect they are useful tools  but they are not the be all and end all. My instincts say that viewers expect to feel an immediate reaction to a photograph but are perhaps willing to stop and stare and devote more time to interpreting a drawing or painting without ‘the meaning’  jumping out at them. I have no idea whether this instinct is correct… I must investigate more.


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