“The one element absolutely essential in every composition is balance, without which no picture can ever be satisfying. Lacking this, a picture becomes restless and irritating, and the beholder turns from it with a sense of relief.
No formula can be drawn up for the simplification for the course of study necessary to an understanding of what constitutes good composition. To a natural taste must be added a careful and understanding study of the best accepted work of all forms of art, old and new. In photography this is even more essential, if possible, then in painting, for the photographer, usually working in monochrome, has not the resource of color upon the painter can draw. Consequently, the only advice is study the best pictures in all media – from painting to photography – and to study them again and again, analyze them, steep yourself in them until they unconsciously become part of your esthetic being. Then, if there be any trace of originality within you, you will intuitively adapt what you have thus made a part of yourself, and tinctured by your personality you will evolve that which is called style.”
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“The problem that is presented is practically one of elimination. To include all that is necessary for the elucidation of the composition, and to exclude everything that is unessential to a clear statement of the dominant underlying idea, taxes the abilities of even the best artists to their utmost. I must not be misunderstood to say that every great work of art must necessarily be simple in its composition, for many of the great masterpieces in painting are built up upon very complex geometric lines. In fact the nature of the composition is largely dependent upon the subject and the manner in which it is intended to be represented. I am now alluding mainly to the linear compositions, there being also tonal treatment, mass compositions, color compositions and combination of all these”.