Where to crop and where to place the focal point are decisions crucial to the effectiveness of every photograph, and I readily confess that I am often disappointed with my own previous choices.
In the case of the Weeping Buddha, below, I have chosen to place the figure towards the lower left corner. Freed from background clutter and noise, I hope the space behind enhances the atmosphere of meditation, quiet and solitude.
Interestingly, if the figure is transferred to the lower right corner he seems to be facing the world rather than isolating himself – praying for a wider community.
In The Little Book of Contemplative Photography, the author, Howard Zehr, suggests an exercise that I find very helpful, especially to enhance my understanding of images – including my own. He suggests that once a week we spend at least 10 minutes with a selected photograph and then, he instructs;
‘As you do, consider three topics in this order:
1 I see (Describe: examine each object, each detail, the light etc. The associate: what are you reminded of by the shapes, juxtapositions etc?)
2 I feel (What do you feel as you look at the image?)
3 I think (Interpret and analyse)’
Obviously it is intended that the sequence can be applied to any photograph or work of art (or, indeed, any aspect of life!) but, for now, I invite you to examine the two pictures of the small sculpture below:
I recommend Zehr’s book. It is a slim volume, cheap, and includes a number of useful exercises.