When Photoshop guru Scott Kelby explains Composition

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Photoshop guru Scott Kelby, editor and publisher of the Photoshop User Magazine and training director and instructor for Adobe Photoshop Semiar Tour, gave at the recent Google+ Photography Conference a talk about composition with the title “How to crush composition”. The one-hour talk is available on youtube and PetaPixel announced it as going beyond the basics of rules of thirds, leading lines, and repeating patterns. Sounded interesting and I watched the video.

The first 15 minutes were already overwhelming, although in a different way I thought they would be. Scott Kelby was talking about a design workshop Adobe had set up in the 90ies to teach design. This workshop was a big success and also a failure. Adobe usually had 400 to 500 people attending a day workshop, but for this design workshop only 63 people came. The 63 attendees had the day of their life and were extremely happy about what they learned, but they were only 63 and not 400. Scott Kelby asked them at the end; why only so few people attended the workshop. The answer was that the other people at the office had said that they already know the design software. Kelby concluded that people seem to think they are designers when they know how to use the software. Only two out of the 10 planned design workshops were conducted and the second workshop was only done, because they couldn’t get out of it. As an explanation for the wrong idea about design Kelby concludes that it is our nature to want to learn the hardware and software. A natural conclusion for somebody who represents the software that gives people the impression they know design. Day workshops with 400 people pay better than workshops with 63 and let people think the software can do it all; that makes them only buy more software. Well and we the customers accept it.
I was tempted to stop watching after the first 15 minutes, but carried on until the end, hoping to learn something new about composition. I did not learn something new about composition, but about how to disguise a photoshop sales talk with a composition talk. I got the impression that photoshop determines what is good and what not and degrades the original object or moment to a framework for photoshop.

Ute Sonnenberg. www.rohoyachui.com