A bird, two couples, three telephone boxes, a table and chairs

Understanding composition is central to photography and other visual arts. Put simply it concerns the placement or arrangement of visual elements within the image, canvas or frame. It is about inter-relationships, shapes, lines, colour, space, foreground/background, and lots more. There are ‘rules’ that the purists adhere to, and the mavericks will often break: ‘rules’ are always there to be broken. We are all likely to spend a lifetime learning the complexities of composition and discovering new ways to interpret those fundamentals and develop our own ‘style’ compositionally.  I know I am still learning and the more images you take the more likely you are to spot a potentially interesting composition.

Today’s image is definitely one based on the arrangement of visual elements.

I happened upon this in Byng Place as I walked (as I do every month) across London from Euston Station to Oxford Circus and back – but only when it’s dry.  What appealed to me about this scene was the way my eye was drawn – curving up and right through the curiously placed table and chairs in the middle of a large expanse of paving (note the lone bird), and then back leftwards past three classic British Red Telephone Boxes to a seated couple.

I knew there was an image here, and as I switched the G10 on, I saw the couple approaching from the right. They were the critical element that completed the composition in my mind. Lady Luck smiled again. Do post a comment – I always enjoy hearing what other people think.

About LensScaper

Hi - I'm a UK-based photographer who started out 45+ years ago as a lover of landscapes, inspired by my love of outdoor pursuits: skiing, walking and climbing. Now retired, I seldom leave home without a camera and I find images in unexpected places and from different genres. I work on the premise that Photography is Art and that creativity is dependent on the cultivation of 'A Seeing Eye'. I'm not averse to manipulating images to produce derivatives that may sometimes be far removed from the original.
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20 Responses to A bird, two couples, three telephone boxes, a table and chairs

  1. rigmover says:

    Long winded title but I see what you mean, great shot and post, thanks.

  2. That is a nice composition. Around here, you just don’t see phone booths anymore.

  3. Len says:

    I agree with you about composition Andy. So crucial to an image. This one is superb as the red booths contrast well with teh rest of the image. Great eye.

  4. Good one, Andy! What great luck that the couple walked into your scene, and great eye knowing they belonged there. Love the placement of the telephone booths and the other couple. Wish I could scoot the leftmost chair a tad more to the left and remove the yellow sign from the left lamppost so it wouldn’t compete for my attention.

    • LensScaper says:

      Thanks very much Linda. I hadn’t really thought about the yellow sign but that could be easily cloned out, leaving the pole on which it hangs in place as I think that does serve a useful purpose as marking the boundary of the image to the Left. You raise an interesting point about the leftmost chair. I’m not so sure about that – I quite like the blank space to the left of it. I wonder if someone else will add a comment about that. I’ll re-visit the square and take a second look one day. I didn’t have much of a chance to think when I took this – this was the one and only shot I took. Nice to hear from you. Andy


  5. LOL…love the title. Well done it is a terrific composition.

  6. Great capture Andy. Good composition in an image is much more difficult to acheive than all the technical stuff. And this one really works.

  7. andybeel says:

    Hi Andy very well seen, lady luck smiles on those with a camera and are prepared to use it! For me the strongest element in this picture is none of the things you have mentioned but the yellow no parking sign it constantly draws my eye away from your intention. You could remove just the sign from the post or the post as well and the integrity of the composition would hang together. Nice introduction and write-up. Thanks Andy.

    • LensScaper says:

      Thanks Andy. Your comments are always apposite. Aargh! I should have thought more about the yellow sign – it needs removing, you and Linda are right. But I do like the post itself.

  8. hdrexposed says:

    A great moment you’ve captured here Andy! Looks like a painting too, I love the processing!

  9. Really lovely shot, Andy. Such a great composition and your processing, as always, is wonderful.
    I got a smile seeing that one phone booth being so much smaller than the others. What’s up with that? LOL

    • LensScaper says:

      Many thanks Jimi. I have no idea why one is so much smaller than the others, nor why there are three placed in this square. I’ll see if I can find an explanation.

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