Freeman Patterson workshop - July 21-27, 2012

30th July 2012
I just finished a week-long workshop with Freeman Patterson and André Gallant in St. Martins, New Brunswick, Canada.

A long trip from Alaska but so very worth it. I’ve been a fan of Freeman’s for years. His books “Photography and the Art of Seeing” and “Photographing the World Around You” are dog-eared references and “The Garden” is a sweet delight.

There were 12 of us students at the St. Martins Inn on the Bay of Fundy. Freeman talked about line and shape as being the building blocks of visual design. Other thoughts he shared:
* if the background is irregular, your foreground may need to be more organized (see stabilizing factors below)
* straight lines send you directly to the destination, curved lines give you more time to get there
* tonal contrast provides structure - the “bones” of an image
* lines around a shape strengthen that shape (like backlighting accentuates the edge of a leaf)
* 3 primary shapes will give order (organization) and stability to an image: equilateral triangle, square, and circle
* 2 secondary shapes will also help: rectangle and oval
* vertical and horizontal lines also add stability
* in an image Freeman showed, the background was chaotic so he created a square to stabilize the image
* the most powerful of all shapes is the circle - it does not have to be huge, just significant
* ovals are more informal
* orientation of secondary shapes can add dynamic-ness

He talked about 4 principles of organization:
1) balance (sometimes you want imbalance)
2) rhythm
3) proportion
4) dominance

Finally, he talked about the importance of feeding one’s sense of awe and wonder - sometimes that is done best by creating. It can be fostered by play, lateral thinking and dreams.

Creativity is our ultimate gift.