The All-Over Effect

Lars Tunbjörk

Lars Tunbjörk, 42nd Street and Eighth Avenue, published May 18, 1997

Lars Tunbjörk is a Swedish photojournalist whose striking photograph has been published in Aperture’s book The New York Times Magazine Photographs.

I admire this photograph for how it achieves the all-over effect, a composition where all parts are equal and are equally dispersed in the frame. Notice how each element is of similar importance and how each element balances each other element.

This is harder to achieve than you might think, and it rarely offers itself to your camera out in the street. Lee Friedlander has been pursuing it throughout his career – you can see a whole book of them in Sticks and Stones.

Because photography captures images of the real world, photographs tend to rely on recognition of the subject matter. The all-over effect resists that by emphasizing composition over representation.

To test the all-over effect, the composition should still work mirror-reversed and upside-down…it does.

Lars Tunbjörk

Lars Tunbjörk

Lars Tunbjörk


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