Chapter 1, Task 1
In Progress

Task 38 – Compose

Task 38


The Camera Cure - task 38
There are a lot of elements here in this precisely composed picture. And Yann is precise. He has written Norwegian Etymological Dictionary. In this picture, our eyes are first drawn towards the white church and then to the two flower vases and the small boat between them. Then I perceive the mountain and the curtains. Yann has let there be a glimmer of the sky that can be seen under the curtains. Maybe there were a few white napkins on the windowsill that he had to remove. As photographers, we have to choose what we will include in the picture and what we are going to leave out. If we have to take something out, it is just as important as what we want to include. The more we practice doing this, the easier it becomes. Do you think that the composition is a good one? Or, maybe you don’t? What is most important is that Yann does. How do your eyes wander across this picture? Where would you have placed a seagull if it had come flying by?
Karlsøy, Faroe Islands, 2015. Foto: Yann de Caprona


Poor life composition

At my office, I witness many people who compose their lives poorly. They participate in too few activities that they enjoy and get inspired from and many of them are surrounded by peo- ple who steal their energy and vitality. These lives often seem like they have been composed randomly. If that is the case, one can pick up some useful ideas about this by studying those people that have managed to succeed in life in the same way that we as photographers learn composition by studying photos and paintings made by masters.

What activities do you do that spark your desire and inspire you? How much time do you spend on them? Is there something you could set aside more time for? Which activities wear you out or drain your energy? Is it possible to cut them out of your life, or reduce the amount of time you spend on them? Think about who you have in your circle of friends that support you. Is there anyone you feel takes more than they give?

Do you have a lot of tasks that you have put off that are hanging over you and drag you down imperceptibly? Can you get them finished by, for example, first writing a list of what should be done and then doing one task a day?

We need to compose our lives. It is just as important to be clear about what we shouldn’t do and whom we shouldn’t spend time with as it is to be about what we should do and whom we should spend our time with.

It is difficult to make a good composition in regard to our life. It requires a lot of work, day after day. “This day, one life” was Astrid Lindgren’s motto. She took every single day seriously and treated it as if it contained a whole life. She composed stories and she composed her life. Even if we work on composing our days, not all of them will be good ones. Still, there will be many more good ones than if we didn’t try to compose them. If we also manage to learn from the bad days, we have then gained several more valuable days. How is your life composed? Is there something you can change about it? Who lives in such a way that you would rather live? And how did they manage to do it?

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Compose your life!

A photographer learns to compose – that is what it is all about. However, we don’t need to compose every picture the same way. Sometimes we may want to have a photo that’s calm, one with a few harmonious elements containing maybe a little bit of sea and sky in subdued colors. Other times we would like to have one with a lot of hustle and bustle, but we also have to compose this one knowingly so that it is a good one.

A random composition functions haphazardly, just as in life. Pictures that are not com- posed often seem dull, messy, overloaded and unbalanced. Composing requires that we take time to study what we see in front of us. We have to assess what is supposed to be included in the picture and what is going to be left out and how much space each element is to occupy. This requires a lot of concentration in the beginning but after a while it happens more intui- tively.

What you are learning here now, you will be able to benefit from in your everyday life, such as how you can compose the day you have before you and in making decisions about what you are going to do, whom you are going to do it with and why you are doing it.


Compose today’s photo consciously:
Do you want it to contain a few elements and a feeling of tranquility in it? Try to have several elements in it and make a strong composition by moving yourself or moving the objects.

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BOOK SUGGESTION: The Mentalization Book by Tor Wennerberg 


The passivity that TV provides result in wasted time, lost dreams, unused potential, overweight bodies, unchallenged minds and loss of contact with family, friends, nature and life.

Gregg Krech

Music is, for me, like a beautiful mosaic which God has put together. He takes all the pieces in his hand, throws them into the world, and we have to recreate the picture from the pieces.

Jean Sibelius

I just walk around, observing the subject from various angles un- til the picture elements arrange themselves into a composition that pleases my eye.

Andre Kertesz