Saturday, January 3, 2009

Seven rules broken. So?

Seven broken rules

Photographers and other artists fall into two camps - those who talk about the rules and those who don't. Those who talk about the rules tend to learn them, follow them, teach them, preach them, and then hungrily start looking for more. They also judge others' art according to the rules they've learned.
Those who don't talk about the rules tend to ignore them in practice.
Then there are the clever folk who say you must first learn the rules before you break them. Sadly, when people learn rules, they become part of their system. Trying to break them after they've entered your bloodstream is practically impossible. Doing something against one's nature will present itself as artificial, superficial, contrived, and silly.
We also have those who just try to be different in order to be different - sort of like adolescents. Different is not better. Different is just different. And if it's done without a good reason behind it, it's just silly. Certain hairdo's come to mind, and when they look back at their yearbook photo in five years, they cover the picture in shame and embarrassment.
As artists, one good guideline to follow is to ask yourself if you'll be embarrassed by it in five years. (Note: 95% of all art gets worse over time. Of the remaining, 80% remain mercifully in good standing, and 20% improve over time. These are not scientific numbers but are intended to make a greater point.)
As for me? When I first started in art, I started to learn the rules. Very quickly, fortunately, I found out what the rules were for. I went about gathering the rules, but kept them outside my system by labeling them "Silly Rules." This allowed me to become aware of them without them being invited into my bloodstream.
May I suggest the same approach for you?

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