What makes for good design? Can one actually ‘design’ a photograph? After all, isn’t a photograph limited to being a two-dimensional representation of a visual reality? By its very definition, isn’t design supposed to be about the intentional manipulation of visual elements, whether 2D or 3D?

The answer to the first question can be complex, but for me, it brings to mind a quote attributed to Duke Ellington. It was a response to a question about music and Duke’s response was something like, ‘There are really only two kinds of music—good and boring.’ 

I think about design in a similar way—it either works or it doesn’t, 2D or 3D.  In photography we work in 2D with the illusion of 3D. With photography, it all starts with composition, whatever we choose to put in that ‘box’ we see in the camera’s viewfinder. That’s decision one, the place to ask, ‘What’s this image about?” It’s a useful exercise that eventually becomes part of the intuitive process. When I taught photography it was one of the first things we worked on.   (Abstracts, Pt. 2)

Here are some examples of what I think of as ‘found’ design.