One paper

As photographers, we need to begin to develop our eye for what makes a good composition and what makes a poor one. We need to pay attention to all aspects of the photograph we are framing, not just the primary subject. What we choose to include or exclude must be deliberate.

For this exercise, you will practice framing a scene and describe all aspects of it (see the example at the bottom).

The exercise:

1.  In the center of a scrap piece of cardboard or heavy paper (approximately 8in.x10in) cut a rectangle 1in x 1.5in. This will create your viewer.


2.  Hold your viewer in front of your face and close one eye as if you were looking through the viewfinder of the camera.


3.  Examine the scene in front of you and consider what you see.

  • What is in the center?
  • What is along the edge?
  • Would this scene look better if the rectangle were vertical (portrait orientation) instead of horizontal (landscape orientation)?
  • What happens if you move the viewer closer or further from your eye?
  • Is there something I should exclude from my view?

4. After practicing this a few times, begin writing (in detail) about your scene. Write what you see!  Do not answer the questions above.  Only describe what you have arrived at through the viewfinder, not the variations of how it could be framed. You should spend about 5 minutes examining and writing what you see.


5. Make sure that you are writing at the highest quality.  This should be written as paragraphs, not just a listing of elements. If you are struggling with the quality of your writing, please visit the Writing Center in the Library.


Produce one written description each for five different scenes and submit them via Blackboard (for a total of 5 descriptions)


Copy the text into the submission dialog box. 


DEADLINE: Please consult your course calendar for this assignment’s deadline.



“Towels hanging on a door”


A horizontal image – this image shows the bottom of three towels as they are hanging on a door.  The door is identified though the doorjamb and the edge of the open door. The doorknob is excluded.


The three towels (first one being mostly dark tones and striped, the middle one being off white, and the third one being very dark) are draped and folded.  The bottom of each of the three towels is visible in the image and there is white space below them.  The draped towels create a zigzagged edge that rises to the right.  Folds in the center towel rise to the right and line up with an edge of the dark towel that rises to the right, stops, and rises to the left, creating a triangle that directs the viewer back to the left.  The far left towel is cut off by the left edge of the picture.  The towels extend from the left edge approximately three fourths of the way across the image.  The edge of the door runs parallel to the right edge of the image. The towel bottoms and the right edge of the dark towel define a primarliy white negative space.


The scene is flatly lit by indirect mid morning light.  There are few deep shadows only defined because of deep folds in the towel.  There are no noticeable highlights. 

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