Throwing away the rule book - composition with Tony Worobiec

When there is a weather warning for strong winds and driving rain then it takes a considered judgement to venture out on a dark night to a talk on the art of photographic composition. But if the speaker is Tony Worobiec then it’s not such a hard decision to make.
This was a fascinating and well-structured presentation which challenged what a photographic image should look like. Linked to his new book, Tony’s talk examined how some traditional ways of approaching composition such as the rule of thirds had limited value. Whilst it was important to know these principles, there were far more ways of composing pictures. Many of Tony’s ideas might get short shrift from a competition judge but in the end an image can speak by suggestion.
So why be concerned about a shot of flowers where the top bud was cut off if the rest of the image presented pleasing shapes between the leaves and in the remaining whole flowers? Radical indeed but exciting.
Tony offered a host of techniques to consider such the use of balance and counterbalance, playing with scale, the use of a visual full stop, the power of a square format linked to a circle and the moods of colours. These were all illustrated with excellent images which were thought-provoking and stimulating. In particular an image of a pier set against a moody sky was rendered far more impressive by converting it to monochrome and an urban scene was rendered far more aggressive and edgy by a sloping horizon something that would certainly challenge any judge’s preconceptions.
This was an artist’s view of photography and Tony’s message basically was ‘throw away the rule book’ and think about what you are trying to say with your pictures. As club members went home in even more inclement weather there was certainly plenty to consider.