There are no rules in photography and no one person can be the “Rules Police.” Photographic “rules” are suggestions based on compositional patterns and exposure preferences that appeal to the average viewer. With names like the “golden ratio” and “rule to thirds,” it might be best to dispense with the dogmatic compliance of norms, and consider them to be accepted practices or guidelines rather than hard and fast rules. Let’s face it, rules can stifle creativity and promote complacency above risk. By occasionally challenging an accepted guideline, the unintended consequence just might result in a new perspective and elevate an average photograph into something more artful or poignant.
Case in point, this photograph breaks from a cardinal rule of composition which suggests that appendages never be clipped. This edict applies to a variety of subjects. Clipped feet, antlers and antennae can leave the viewer confused and empty with the awkward feeling that something important is missing or has gone wrong. So here it is, not only did I clip some feathers, but this poor owl lost half its wings. Yet, the composition continues to be strong. In some ways the loss is a gain, as the head, eyes and feet of the owl are reinforced and the animal now appears to be so large that can not fit into the frame. The viewer (I hope) is now a part of the action rather than an passive observer
Fear of posting an imperfect image caused this one to languish in obscurity for months. Yet, it is the very imperfections throughout that now make it a compelling photograph to me.
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