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Composition and Decomposition

Composing spans all media and genres in which a whole is built by arranging selected parts. So, naturally, it can produce things from great simplicity to great complexity. In all cases, the goal is for the arrangement to generate what makes the whole significant; and changing the arrangement means that the meaning of the whole might change too.

If we decompose a composition, navigating through what looks like the elements, the choices, and the logic of combining things, one possible discovery is of alternatives that we can imagine, which brings the combinatory decisions into higher relief as purposeful choices. Another discovery might be the similarity of purposes in composing, across different mediums such as writing and photography.

The two documents below analytically explore composition and decomposition, one with an emphasis on pointing out various options typical of composing a photograph, and the other how they relate to literary composition.

Decomposition Scene
Download PDF • 1.40MB

Deconstructing Composition
Download PDF • 585KB

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