Yvonne van der Mey wins with photo "against the rules"
Yvonne van der Mey, who directed the workshops on nature photography that I followed the last two weekends, won a prize! The prize photo, entitled “Leopard male in the early morning, desperately looking for a female” she had shown to us during the workshop as one with which she was quite satisfied, although it went against a primary rule of composition, namely that you ought to see the subject’s eyes in a portrait-like picture. But here, clearly, that rule does not really apply: we as viewers are following the leopard’s gaze into the depth of the unknown, almost feeling his anxiousness.
That’s a point about so-called rules of composition: you have to adhere to most of them to avoid mistakes in your photo, but you must know when to break one of them to make a truly good shot.
By the way, I wonder if the title of the photo was really true: maybe the leopard was just looking for food, or was frightened through hearing a pride of lions roaring, rather than being on the lookout for a mate, but it is a nice title that adds to the picture’s meaning–it makes the animal more symphatetic to human viewers, and if that’s what gives you a prize, why not?