1/3 rule: I took this photograph in the Ortakoy (Fig.03a), district, in Istanbul. We see Bosporus bridge in the distance, which connects the European part of the city to the Asian part. As we come close, we see Ortakoy mosque and a small harbour for boats. This place is very popular for young people and tourists. Coming to the photograph, I tried to put the mosque to the upper left 1/3 of the composition (marked with a green ellipse) (Fig.03b),. This is the first point of the composition where a viewer will look. The second point will be the upper right 1/3. A very common mistake is to put the most important subject in the composition at the centre of the image. Actually, that gives a static and boring feeling and it occupies all the space around, so we can not place any other subjects around it. In this example, I also tried to give an affect of depth by creating 3 zones. These are the boats, which are the closest zone; they are not the most important subjects in this composition, but they are emphasising the zone which is very close to the camera and also make the dark blue of the sea look lighter. The second zone is occupied by the mosque, which is the main subject of this photograph; it is in the mid-part - not too close, not too far. It is also located in the most important point of the composition. The third zone is the Bosporus bridge, which is located in the distance, and looks like the background. Because of the distance, the colours of this object turned to blue (this is called an "atmospheric perspective" effect), so the colours are not that strong. Also, it is not "stealing the stage", away from the mosque. This photograph does however have some unwanted issues, which are the incomplete boats which have been marked with red arrows.
In my 3D works, I will try to explain how I use the traditional techniques of photography and renaissance painting. I have chosen 2 of my works, " Sad Street" (3D Work 1) and " Vaulted Street" (3D Work 2), from my Street Series. These are variations of each other.
3D Works 1
The primary idea for this image came from a real photograph that I had seen a number of years ago. That photograph included an arch and a door facing it, with several pots scattered around made of terra cotta. I never completely copy a photograph in my works, I am only influenced by them (Fig.04).
I thought the contrast between the slightly shaded atmosphere of the area covered by the arch, and the well-lit area in front of it, including the old wooden door, would be a subject matter to catch the eye. The smooth shadows and the slight blue colour that comes from a cloudy sky would add a silent and calm atmosphere to the composition. All the other elements are carefully placed in the scene to bring out rich shadows and depth.
In my works, I always try to use the "light" as a design element. I use shade and shadows, and most of the times I locate objects to create shade and shadows, in proper places.
In this example, I use the dark area bordered by the arch as a dark frame to emphasize the warm, Mediterranean daylight. As I am living in Turkey, I have hot, Mediterranean blood and I like the warm light of this region.
Light is not an element just to make objects visible, but light and dark gives meaning to objects and it is a part of the composition. My favourite painters who use light as an element of composition are Caravaggio (Fig.05 - Caravaggio), Vermeer van Delft (Fig.06 - Vermeer van Defft), and Turkish painter Osman Hamdi Bey (Fig.07 - Osman Hamdi Bey). Every county in the world has its own lighting. Northern countries have a different light colour and composition, Africa has another light colour and composition, Great Britain can often be dull and wet, Turkey is sunny, Norway is very cold, Australia is too hot, and so on... Also, all countries have their own cultures and colour schemes. The mixture of the "colour of natural light" and the "colours of cultures" give very different light schemes in all different parts of the world. So, use light in your compositions. Always start with a lighting scenario in your mind and try to transfer your feelings by using light. Do not just light your objects, but give a meaning to them!
Fig. 05 - Caravaggio