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BY Sam Edmonds

Composition 101

What makes a great photograph?
A concept? A language? Technical proficiency? Mastery of light?

When looking across the great adventure photographers and photojournalists throughout history, a uniting factor in photographs that stand the test of time is without a doubt good composition.

Although “rules” for composition can lead us on the path of making engaging and thoughtful images, most masters of the craft will tell you that there’s no recipe for success. And while the complexity and chaos on an Alex Webb street photograph seems endlessly considered, the simplicity and formality of an Alec Soth speaks just as much to the virtues of a well thought out frame.

In this guide, our judges talk about their approach to photographic composition. From the streets of Afghanistan to the mountains of Alberta. While we touch on the basics, insights from Dupont, Wright, Zizka and Moir go to show that these tools are always optional and composition is always an extension of your photographic voice.

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