“More than ambition, more than ability, it is rules that limit contribution; rules are the lowest common denominator of human behavior. They are a substitute for rational thought.” ― Hyman G. Rickover
Breaking the rules in photography is actually rather easy. First, there are too many damn rules and most of those are under-supported and fail to take into account all the possible variations one might encounter when shooting. Second, those rules are generally not explained too terribly well, even in photography courses, and some of them are so confusing as to make it difficult to know whether the rule is actually being broken or not. Breaking photography rules is about as easy, and pretty much as earth shattering, as rolling out of bed in the morning.
Breaking the rules of society, not just society in general, but the very specific society of which you are immediately and constantly a part, is more difficult, though. Why? Because you have to live there. If you venture out and make a mistake, the people around you know about it, and might possibly remind you. Constantly. Cruelly. Taking risks to do something as different as changing the brand of coffee used in the office means taking on the possibility that others, especially the boss, might disagree. Breaking rules in life, no matter how small they are, can have some very large consequence and that risk is enough to keep the majority of people quiet and toeing the line.
What’s wrong is that the model is positioned right smack in the middle of the frame, which is actually a fairly strong framing no-no. We would much rather have positioned her slightly to the right just a bit. Making the rule violation even worse is that the positioning puts the dead center of the image right at the model’s crotch. Awkward. And now that I’ve mentioned it, you won’t be able to not notice. We went ahead and broke this rule for two reasons. 1. The leading lines created by the car put our eyes there whether we like that or not. 2. Size restrictions of the frame made it impossible to move left or right without creating additional visual problems. Sometimes we have to decide which rule to keep and which to ignore.
Earth shattering? Not hardly. You’ll go on about your day and quite possibly won’t give it a second thought, unless you spending time looking at a lot of pictures. The picture won’t cause the overthrow of any dictatorial government or change the economic policies of the Midwest. But our whole purpose this week is to reinforce the idea that breaking rules is not something we should be afraid to do. Should we give thought to the consequences? Yes. But if more of us were willing to break rules, even the simple one such as this, we might be surprised at how wonderful the changes would be.