For those of you who think Norman Rockwell only painted idealized images, he didn’t. His idealized images are the most popular, but he painted many other, hard-edged pictures. If you’re in the neighborhood of Stockbridge, Massachusetts, I recommend the Norman Rockwell Museum.
It’s a particularly American experience. I especially love this Thanksgiving cover for Life Magazine — reminding us that the Pilgrims were a humorless bunch. Not the kind of people I’d like to know.
They wouldn’t approve of our traditional Thanksgiving, not one little bit. I don’t think you’d want them at your table and they would not be thrilled to be there, either.
I enjoy Thanksgiving. The idea of it. It’s good there’s a day dedicated to gratitude. And eating too much, visiting with family and friends. But — you knew there was going to be a “but” didn’t you? — I am frequently reminded there are people who don’t have a family. Others who don’t have much to celebrate. And of course Native Americans, who on the whole, don’t find Thanksgiving a reason to rejoice.
So, while we are consuming our dinners and enjoying our family, please give a thought to those who aren’t celebrating. Can’t celebrate. Are disinclined to celebrate. We do not all have to celebrate the same way.
Enjoy your holiday. Your way.
One of the very first principles of composition I learned … maybe the only principle of composition I learned … was that a leading diagonal line give a picture “movement.”
Without some kind of angle to take the viewer’s eye into the picture, the scene tends to be static.
That’s why pictures of horizons with sunsets are often pretty, but unexciting. Because there’s a flat horizon and nothing going on in the foreground. Does that make sense to anyone but me?
I’ll shut up now and just show some pictures!
A few words about cropping:
Tight cropping often completely changes a picture and what it’s about. When the diagonal is part of the larger picture, it is drawing the viewer’s attention to something else — other than itself. When the diagonal is the picture, it’s about that wire, or that edge, or fence, or stream.
There’s nothing wrong with it and it may be a more interesting picture … but it isn’t the same picture.
When you crop, you need to decide not only what looks good, but what you want to say. In other words, what’s the picture about?
And for extra credit, this from the leading lines challenge a few weeks ago, zig-zag fence in Vermont is about as diagonal as you can get.