Photograph above taken in Colonie, NY with a Leica R4 and Tri-X film (1994)
11 Reasons Why Dynamic Symmetry Might Never Become Popular With Photographers (Click here for the podcast on this article Part 1)
1. Adam Marelli
Ten months ago, Adam Marelli, a respected teacher in the photographer community, released a B&H video telling thousands of his viewers that Dynamic Symmetry is "really boring art academic stuff." This negative segment on Dynamic Symmetry pretty much sank the industry, and more than likely it will never recover. Ironically speaking, Adam fully understands the value of learning Dynamic Symmetry and uses it in his own photographs.
2. You can't directly apply Dynamic Symmetry to a photograph
Unlike the artist who can spend an unlimited amount of time creating a composition using rulers, t-squares, calipers, etc., photographers can't use these tools and only have a fraction of a second to compose their photos. This lack of time (and tools) make it impossible for the photographer to directly apply Dynamic Symmetry to their images. Unfortunately, because you can't directly apply Dynamic Symmetry to a photograph, most photographers don't see the benefit in learning this system of design.
3. Photographers won't take the time to study art
In my experience of teaching design for over ten years and working with hundreds of photographers, I've only met a few that are willing to take the time to analyze art. By not taking the time to learn design or closely study masterworks, the photographer will have a difficult time improving their visual literacy skills.
4. Complicated Dynamic Symmetry grid packs
Yeah, yeah, we have all seen them. Advertisements on YouTube and other Dynamic Symmetry websites for elaborate Dynamic Symmetry grid packs. Grid designs based on famous artists, grids broken down into multiple themes, grids for iPhones, iPads, this camera and that camera and on and on it goes. But the reality is, photographers and artists will never use them. Artists that actually use Dynamic Symmetry draw out the grids on their canvas and photographers can't be bothered with all that nonsense - they are far too complicated. If you're a photographer interested in learning Dynamic Symmetry and applying it to your photographs, the basic armature of the rectangle is more than enough.
Click here to download a simple, easy to use Dynamic Symmetry grid pack.
5. Most books on Dynamic Symmetry are too technical
Over the years, I've read every book available on Dynamic Symmetry. These include books by Jay Hambidge, Christine Herter, Charles Bouleau, Samuel Coleman, Kimberly Elam, and so on. And while all of these books are useful, I've only found one that most artists and photographers will find interesting or understand - The Art of Composition: A Simple Application of Dynamic Symmetry by Michel Jacobs. Because most books written on Dynamic Symmetry are far too technical and overwhelming, photographers won't bother studying this system of design.
6. Self-Published books on Dynamic Symmetry
Self-published books on Dynamic Symmetry suck. They are poorly written, poorly edited and often inaccurate in their analytical findings. Need proof? Just go on Amazon.com and look at the reviews on some of these books. You would be lucky to find more than 20, and many of those reviews are done by friends and family members. After ten years of studying design, I've discovered that the best book available to learn Dynamic Symmetry is by Michel Jacobs - The Art of Composition: A Simple Application of Dynamic Symmetry. Sorry, there is no competing with it. End of story.
7. Photographers only learn the modern-day rules of composition
Even though the rule of thirds, the rule of odds, the rule of space, and leading lines are practically useless when it comes to creating masterful compositions, photographers will never stop writing articles or recommending these rules to newbies because these design concepts require no effort or skills to apply to a photograph.
8. Photographers are obsessed with camera gear and image processing software
Whenever I tell someone I'm a photographer, the first question out of their mouth is, "What kind of camera do you shoot with?" Even though I could argue the point that the camera I shoot with makes no difference when it comes to creating great art, I would more than likely to be strangled to death with my own camera strap.
9. Modern Art ideology
Every time you read an article about composition on a popular photography website, how many times have you been told that composition in art and photography is intuitive? Pretty much always! Well, you can thank the 20th century Modern Art movement for that nonsense. Over the past 100 years, artists and photographers have been falsely led to believe that great art is created by "feeling" and that technical skills inhibit creative - none of which is true.
10. YouTube videos on Dynamic Symmetry
All the videos I've seen on YouTube about Dynamic Symmetry are poor at best. Additionally, most of these videos are nothing more than marketing propaganda to sell Dynamic Symmetry grid packs, videos, and memberships. The only videos that I recommend are the Barnstone Studios DVDs and Instant Downloads. These videos are the best in their class and worth the investment.
11. Posting articles on mainstream photography websites
Photographers that post articles about Dynamic Symmetry on mainstream photography websites are only concerned with making money - not preserving the integrity of classical design. The fact is, photography websites like PetaPixel, Fstoppers.com, etc. are the worst arena for generating interest in Dynamic Symmetry. And sure, you could argue the fact that you might make a few quick sales due to the large number of visitors these sites attract, the reality is the long-term damage is far more significant. These sales oriented articles generate page after page of negative comments that are shared by hundreds, if not thousands, of readers.
Learn Dynamic Symmetry in Art and Photography for Free (No Marketing Nonsense - Only Real World Information)
No Monthly Membership Fees Free Video Lectures on Dynamic Symmetry Free 412 Page PDF on The Art of Composition Free Simple to Apply Dynamic Symmetry Grid Pack (154) Free Photography Portfolio Review (1-10 Images) Unbiased Product Reviews and Recommendations Weekly Podcasts on Dynamic Symmetry Over 10 Years Experience in Design Over 37 Years Experience in Photography
The Benefits of Learning Dynamic Symmetry and Real Design
-Create Masterful Art and Photography That's Easy to Sell! -Build a Portfolio That Far Exceeds Your Competitors! -Watch Your Self Confidence Grow as Your Skills Improve! =Gain Respect From Your Peers and Become a Highly Trained Artist! -Learn the Design Techniques that Make Your Art Come to Life! -Learn How to Stop Relying on "Intuition" and Start Using Real Skills! -Discover the Secrets of Composition That Master Artists Don't Want You to Know!
What Others Are Saying About Dynamic Symmetry Art "James Cowman's user's guide on composition and Dynamic Symmetry, in particular, was one of the greatest milestones on my journey of becoming a better artist. Dynamicsymmetryart.com is undoubtedly the best resource on the subject out there, which I keep recommending to anyone interested in taking their compositions to a new level. It shocks me that even otherwise excellent artists today often know nothing about these old systems and rely mostly on their intuition to create their compositions. It's time that artists rediscover and revive the lost knowledge of the old masters and bring art back to its former glory. Jame's user's guide is a unique and invaluable resource in this effort." - Storm Engineer
"Jim offers something that is almost impossible to find online: a truly one-of-a-kind resource. His information about Dynamic Symmetry is meticulously researched and comes from a place of knowledge and genuine interest, not sales, as so many educational sites do. Reading his surprisingly accessible work has helped me to grow artistically in a deliberate and satisfying way. I return to Dynamic Symmetry Art regularly and always learn something new." - Rebecca Isenhart
"The information provided in The Art of Composition: A Dynamic Symmetry User's Guide for the Modern Artist has been a tremendous resource for me as an artist and photographer. My photography work has improved tremendously, and all of my clients agree! I'll continue to share this user's guide with all of my peers and other creative artists." - Zine Massey
"I just graduated from the BFA in Graphic Design at the Federal University of Pernambuco, in Brazil, and one of the chapters of my monograph was about composition. As a motion designer, the proper layout of elements is a very important phase in my creative process, so any tool that helps with making decisions on that is very valuable. What I love about your studies is that it's full of images and resources, it's a gold mine in my opinion. Thanks for providing so much information at an affordable price." - Eveline Falcão
"The Art of Composition: A Dynamic Symmetry User's Guide for the Modern Artist deserves to be a physical book in Barnes & Noble & on my coffee table!" - Elliot McGucken
"The Art of Composition: A Dynamic Symmetry User's Guide for the Modern Artist is, without a doubt, one of the most comprehensive e-books ever written on the topic of design in art. Whether you're a beginner, intermediate, or advanced art/photography student, this user's guide is indispensable. I recommend it to all of my artists and photographers and have it linked to my website The Artist Angle." - Jennifer Finley
"Though I am not a newcomer to photography, I am far from being a professional. So too, it has only been in the past few months that I discovered dynamicsymmetryart.com. I was transformed from being concerned with camera equipment, f-stops, shutter speed, ISO to considering how I would apply the principles of classical art training to my photography.
As I began reading about the old world masters, including da Vinci, Degas, Rembrandt, and Renoir, I learned that Dynamic Symmetry structurally changed paintings from being passive to active and dynamic. Furthermore, I didn’t realize that a small, yet renowned, group of photographers were well known for using Dynamic Symmetry in their photographs of city life and people.
My journey began by reading. The Dynamic Symmetry Art website has numerous resources that gave me a crash course in art and composition. I had to learn about the visual properties of different kinds of rectangles and how each can be divided into compositional elements. Then I began using the Dynamic Symmetry grid overlays in Lightroom to analyze and crop my photos.
I have found dynamicsymmetryart.com extremely beneficial, and it has contributed immensely with my efforts to improve as a photographer. Thank you for your commitment to art and art education." - Warren Wish
"There’s been something missing in my photography for some time now. It felt like I’d hit a brick wall. I was finding great locations and taking beautiful photos, but again, something was missing. I had no idea what it was; I just knew it was there.
I found myself repeatedly falling back on the Rule of Thirds, but this was becoming more of a hindrance rather than a help. Then one day I had the good fortune to stumble across the website Dynamicsymmetryart.com. There is no better teacher or resource on the internet regarding Dynamic Symmetry and best of all everything is free! I can assure you, once you begin to delve into the rich offerings on this site you won’t have any need to look elsewhere.
I, for one, can’t thank Jim enough for all the time and effort he has put into this and for taking my photography to the next level. His website and Youtube channel are both superb, and I'd like to thank him for sharing the knowledge on what is a very fascinating subject." - Tim B
"With the passing of Myron Barnstone, we lost a great resource on the application of the Rectangles of the Masters and the Golden Section in creating art. But the website dynamicsymmetryart.com is carrying on that work Myron so thoroughly believed in and taught. Dynamic Symmetry can be used in the simplest of ways as well as being infinitely complex if one desires. Great minds such as Leonardo da Vinci recognized the power that this compositional tool offers.
Dynamicsymmetryart.com is an amazing reference for artists who are open to exploring the benefits of using Dynamic Symmetry in their work. It applies to all the arts and resonates at a primal level of understanding harmony and beauty. Much thanks to James Cowman for his dedication to furthering this information to the public." - Master Artist and Teacher,Dot Bunn, Red Stone Farm Studio
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