In The Photographer’s Eye, Michael Freeman devotes a chapter to the repertory of basic graphic elements that every visual artist uses, in any medium. Being able to quickly recognize what elements of that repertory are present in a scene is a crucial skill for the photographer, because luck favors the prepared. Most of the time I am much slower than I ought to be, but here’s an image that exists because I was ready with the tools on a lucky day:
Here we have an asymmetric composition, with pieces of unequal size but equal weight in balance, a frame-within-a-frame, an eyeline, and motion indicated by directional blur. When I saw this storefront, I immediately thought that a young lady or a young couple strolling by would complement it exactly, and by good fortune this intense young lady showed up. I do not remember consciously recognizing that the doorway at right would act as a frame-within-a-frame until a few minutes later, although it must have registered subconsciously or I would not have tripped the shutter when I did.
I had recognized the possibilities of this scene and placed myself where I could take advantage of them, but without Ms. Green Coat, whom I could never have foreseen, all the skill in the world wouldn’t have gotten me this shot.