Had this been a painting, I would have seen some merit to the statement because the painting could have been altered and changed during the initial concept. The painter could have repositioned the old truck, changed the foreground and altered the background depending on his or her creative process.
I captured this image as I envisioned it, and I used a normal 80 mm lens on my medium format camera to make the exposure. All of the elements came together in my mind and they were about as near perfect as one could imagine. Lastly, Mother Nature tossed in another snow shower just as I was setting up my tripod and camera, This completed my composition.
The person doing the critique did not seem to understand that I could not have moved any further back because I had already run out of space, and I chose not to move any further left or right or it would have upset the balance and lead-in which had already been established by the artist. In other words, I liked this landscape just as it was, and to add one further note, I do not "shoot" my subjects. I photograph them. Leave the shooting to the gun lovers.
A final note--there were many other potential close-up images in and around this old farm scene. This, however, was my favorite, and a scene such as this provides many potentially nice concepts for the camera or brush artist.
HORSE AND FENCE
There is another nice image in this blog which received some criticism from a fellow photographer way back when---about 1979, I believe. This guy was almost nasty about his critique. I will post the image which I title, "Horse & Fence just ahead of this one so that you can clearly see what we are talking about.
To capture an image such as this, you must anticipate, and then at the precise moment, you execute. This has often been referred to as the "Decisive Moment."
I stopped along a back country road in central Virginia and watched this scene develop as the horse approached the fence. By then I had the camera set up and ready to go. I even had a plastic bag placed over it to prevent the snow from melting on the lens. I made the exposure precisely when the horse turned it's head and looked to it's left. Or, from my standpoint, to the right. That is what made this image a total success. Had I made the exposure with the horse looking straight at me or in the opposite direction, the image would have been unacceptable.
The fellow making the open critique told me that the image was split into two halves, linked together only by a fence. It should NOT have that open space which is partially occupied by the horse between the two trees. The key to this is the fact that the horse, by turning it's head to the left, leads the viewers eye into the presentation and beyond. How simple it is, and it has been one of my favorite images over the years. This is the only criticism that I know of which was ever personally directed at me regarding the horse and fence. But, people are funny.
I have continually told up-and-coming artists to react to their gut feeling. "If the concept feels right, push that shudder release, and nine times out of ten, you will be right on target."
This artist prefers to think of "Rules" as guidelines. In the art world, rules are made to be broken. But be careful not to overwork a piece of art.
In the old days when I was still into serious printing, the trash can in my lab was often overflowing with test strips resulting from futile attempts to make a finished print turn out just the way I had originally envisioned it.