Quote Originally Posted by Wigwam Jones
I think people misunderstand the term 'rules' when it comes to photography, or art in general. Mention the word 'rules' and you see people stiffen up, as if you are telling them how to be creative or how to make their art.

There are no 'rules' in the sense of like speed limits or pulling over for an ambulance or 'i before e except after c', etc. There is no Judge PhotoDredd intoning "I am duh law," and then tearing your photographs to bits and tossing you in jail.

Photographers have proven that a photograph does not have to be on paper. It does not have to be made with a camera. It does not have to involve film. There is no one process that must be followed. There is no subject that is taboo. There is no subject not worth photographing. There is nothing that cannot be photographed and displayed such that it is not interesting to someone.

The rules simply are attempts to codify what learned eyes have observed as being pleasing to many people.

If one is concerned with making their photograph pleasing to many people, the rules are a good place to start.

If one is not concerned with making their photograph pleasing to many people, but is instead concerned with making exactly and precisely the photograph that they wish to make, then the rules would make no sense and would be silly to use as a guideline.

GG Allin made art the way he wanted to make art. Not many people liked it, but there you go. Did he want people to like it, or did he want to be true to himself?

The biggest problem I see is people who choose to please only themselves and then become frustrated that more people don't share their appreciation of their own work. One must think about what one's intent is.
Wigwam, I think you're mistaken in your concept of what 'rules' are - they are not written in stone, and following rules will not 'willy-nilly' provide an image that will be acceptable to most people. By themselves, they mean very little. I'm not saying they do not have a use, but what you can offer as a photographer or artist is what is important. If you are undertaking a commission for someone, then finding out what they want from you is much more complex than, say, following a set of rules for composition.

And really, in personal work, if you don't aim to 'please yourself' even if it has to be 'please only [your]self' what is the point of doing it? Otherwise we'd all be doing market research to find the formula for success, rather than creating our own work, or finding our own 'style'.