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In an appeal to the engineer aspect ...
Rules of composition are more like rules of chemistry than they are LAWS of physics. The laws of physics hold true, i.e. vector forces, AI=AR, etc. The rules of chemistry are chocked full of exceptions and grouped according to differing circumstance and classification. Personally, physics was my fav, because of the absolutes involved. Chemistry ... the "bastards" kept changing the rules for every exception that came around the corner.
Rules of composition are full of exception to circumstance, category & classification of utility. Short version, they are NOT formulaic. Rather they are a COMPOSITE (i.e. composition) of elements (like chemistry) that vary in their degree of unity & harmony ... much like O vs. O2 vs. O3 ... one has a "missing element", one is stable, and one is powerful, yet short lived. Deciding on how to construct the elements of composition is a matter of choice, and has cause & effect relationships with how the viewer perceives what is presented.
There is no ideal or correct composition ... as composition is a composite of elements ...i..e leading lines, scale, balance, tonal value, sharpness, contrast, etc. Placement of focal point or nexus is ONLY ONE ELEMENT of composition (i.e. composite/collection of elements).
ROT is to composition as Salt or Pepper are to French Cuisine ... but one ingredient in the overall creation of a sensual delicacy.
ROT is only suggesting a PLACEMENT of a focal point, typically absent of the other elements involved. When you have the plethora of other elements involved and harmoniously interwoven, ROT is a rudimentary effort that can be contradictory to the power of composition with regard to the bevy of other elemental considerations. It strikes me that your innate sense of how to incorporate the additional elements of composition (beyond subject/nexus focal point placement) is being retarded, rescinded and reversed by the concept of ROT being a LAW rather than a RULE ... with the errant/misunderstood attempt to transform a violable RULE into an inviolable LAW.
Just because someone suggests a rule that you should drive between the lines ... ask any motorcycle enthusiast or racer, and you'll quickly find out that their understanding of the laws of physics supersede the rules of the road when aspiring to achieve maximum performance. "Knee draggers" know that staying in the lines of "rules of the road" works well for a "safety factor" for the masses to follow ... yet they also know that to achieve real performance it is their knowledge of counterbalance, thrust and coefficient of friction ... and how to intertwine / incorporate them ... that render the "rules of the road" as folly for those aspiring for peak performance. Natural LAWS, trump man-made RULES ... when you know how to harness them. Otherwise, play it safe following the rules. You seem to be bent on allowing the rules to steer you away from the laws ... thus leading you from peak performance possibilities toward mass mediocrity.
Edited on Sep 13, 2012 at 03:24 AM · View previous versions