“The irony of rule followers is they often quote a lot of people that do not follow as many rules as they do.” ― Shannon L. Alder
There is a song sounding like it’s from the old west that says:
Oh, give me land, lots of land under starry skies above
Don’t fence me in
Let me ride through the wide open country that I love
Don’t fence me inLet me be by myself in the evenin’ breeze
And listen to the murmur of the cottonwood trees
Send me off forever but I ask you please
Don’t fence me in
Cole Porter, who wrote the song based on a poem by Robert Fletcher, was nowhere near the “old west,” though. He wrote the song for a movie that was never produced. Go figure. Some ten years later, the song was given to Roy Rogers who made it a hit because, you know, horses and cowboys and those legendary wide open space were a big hit in post-war America. Interestingly enough, Porter never really liked the song all that much.
A lot of people feign amusement with the concept of wide open spaces, including space itself. Yet, when we find it, not too many of us are actually comfortable. Where space is truly plentiful, where there is an absence of things, there is also an absence of people, anyone with whom one might have a decent conversation, and from there matters quickly get boring. And lonely. And suddenly those wide open spaces aren’t looking quite as good as they did when one first arrived.
Today’s picture breaks the fill the frame rule. Maybe it’s still the ad person left in me, but I like the space. I like that there’s room for copy, a lot of copy, but no copy exists. In my mind, the space gives the mind room to create its own story, its own copy, to go along with the picture. We titled the image, “Before Leaving,” because the way in which her body is slightly turned gives one the impression that perhaps she is on her way out the door. Why? That’s for you to decide. Maybe she’s looking for pants. Maybe she’s about to take a shower. Maybe she’s changed her mind and doesn’t like you as much as you thought. Maybe she’s not a fan of the space.
Giving an image space, sometimes a lot of space, leaves a story open to almost endless possibilities. I like that mystery, myself. I’m not looking for a world all neatly bundled together and fitting nicely into a frame. I enjoy concepts that require thinking for myself. For me, space is a friend and I frequently break this rule, especially for portraits. Let this moment be endless, not boxed and framed and predictable.
Just don’t fence me in. Please. Whatever you do.