Playing by the rules

By: Darrell Klein

May 06 2007

Category: Art, Creativity, Image, photography, quotes


Photo:  No Skateboard – Henderson, TN

In yesterday’s post, I included a quote from photographer Bill Brandt about rules and how he feels they do not apply to photography.  Regular visitors to my blog will probably not be surprised that I agree with Mr. Brandt.

I know that for many, the “rules” provide guidance on how to make better pictures.  Hey, if it works for you, who am I to tell you that you are wrong?  However, for me, it was when I let go of the rules that I started to take off with my photography.  The main way that shedding the rules helped is by simply allowing me to take any photo I wanted to.  I stopped saying “oh, I cannot take that shot because it violates some of the photographic rules”.  I now allow myself the freedom to take any shot I feel led to.  I now learn through lots of experimentation that I never allowed myself to do before when the rules were so important.

I have heard the argument that you must first know what the rules are and work within them before you can break them.  I believe there is truth to this statement when applied to certain disciplines.  For me though, photography is not one of them.  For me, photography is about creativity.  Creativity for me is about pushing yourself to new levels.  How could I do that if I were constrained by “rules”.

Yet another argument is that photographers such as myself only break the rules for the sake of breaking them.  As you might imagine, I do not agree with this position.  The rules just aren’t a part of my photographic vocabulary.  I take the photos that I want to take.  I realize that my tastes may not be for everyone.  However, I will only continue to make photographs as long as I enjoy doing so.  That for me requires that I do not put any inhibitions on my creativity.


4 comments on “Playing by the rules”

  1. Nicely done. I like capturing stuff like that, and you do it well!

  2. thank you for this!!
    i’m big for experimenting.
    maybe its because i don’t know “the rules” so i justify it by saying its called experimental freedom!
    but i do find that some of my most loved photos are ones taken by chance, outside of any learnt rules, and what could also have been a big mistake.

  3. Rules, schmools!

    Rules limit.

    If you want to see mind-blowing photography that has a total disregard for the “rules” check out “Telex Iran” by Gilles Peress.

    I’m enjoying the way how you’re finding the sublime in the mundane. Keep up the good work!

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