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The Barnet Book of Photography A Collection of Practical Articles

The one and principal object see diagram fig


Fig. 7.]

[Illustration: Fig. 8.]

Remembering now that, as set forth in the earlier part of this article, a picture should appeal to our feelings and stir our emotions, it may be pointed out that in most ordinary things, and certainly in the arts, the most powerful things are those which possess _one_ dominant idea or feature, as in a piece of music the refrain keeps recurring, a preacher takes a text, in a story there is _one_ hero, and so forth, and in point of composition fig. 7 is better than fig. 8, although the view is less comprehensive.

[Illustration: Fig. 9.]

It may not, however, always be easy for the beginner to determine what is the chief object which should occupy the central position, or which object or group to choose in a landscape.

[Illustration: Fig. 10.]

This brings us to speak of another important matter, and that is the right disposition of lines which form the view or the selection of view so that the lines formed by the component parts shall fall in a desirable manner. The various objects in any view tend to form or suggest lines, thus in fig. 9 the outline of the trees, the bank along the shore, the clouds, and the boats suggest the lines shown in the diagram, fig. 10, which lines all run the same way, but in fig. 11 we have a similar view in which

the lines suggested counterbalance each other, and not only so, but by their convergence they carry the eye to a spot near the centre, and so make the boat, although not very large nor conspicuous, the one and principal object (see diagram fig. 12).

[Illustration: Fig. 11.]

[Illustration: Fig. 12.]

For the sake of training one's perceptions look at any good pictures, and in your mind resolve them into line diagrams and see how these lines fall, and in considering any landscape or other subject to be photographed make up your mind as to what lines are suggested, and then select your point of view so that these lines balance or are symmetrical in arrangement, and also that they converge towards some point well within the picture, and near the centre of it.

[Illustration: Fig. 13.]

But in fig. 13 we have a subject in part well composed, but the composition is spoilt because of the line formed by the road and fence, which seem to cut the picture in two, whereas could we have chosen the same subject from a point of view giving such an arrangement as fig. 14, a difference is at once felt and a more pleasing effect gained.

[Illustration: Fig. 14.]

[Illustration: Fig. 15.]

[Illustration: Fig. 16.]

Lines which seem to separate us from the picture and cut off one part from another must be carefully avoided, and an endeavour to find something which will, as it were, lead the eye into the picture, should be diligently sought for, and indeed a subject, however it may interest us, must often be abandoned if it lacks those things which go to make pleasing composition, remembering as we should always do that in pictorial work the fact that objects are curious, or interesting, or pretty, has nothing to do with the case, but that they are only to be valued according as they act as media for expressing pleasing ideas, beautiful thoughts and sentiments, which they will not do if some part creates a feeling of unpleasing arrangement or design. If a scene does not compose well, we should as pictorial workers feel no desire to reproduce it. But you may say "Cannot we often by changing our point of view get an otherwise ill-composed subject to compose well?" Most decidedly, that is precisely what we should do, but it is no longer the same subject or view.

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