Balancing Form and Content

While Edward Weston accepted the modernist tenet that form follows function, Henri Cartier Bresson contributed to the discussion by suggesting that:

“We can’t separate the form from the content, there is a whole play of interrelations between them. The misfortune of both salon photographers and pictorialist photographers is that they often possess a beautiful form, but so empty, so hollow. A carafe without water. Yes, but the content – so important – must be presented graphically, precisely in order not to be diminished, damaged, by poor form. The perfect union (and naturally instinctive) of form and content, this is the heart of the problem.”

The relationship between form, function and content is therefore fundamental if we are to achieve “perfect union”.  However, if content includes our emotional response to whatever it is we are photographing then achieving balance can put us in a dangerous place – it can begin to reveal who we are.

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