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
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.
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