It’s not often that you get to hear a master photographer explain how he made one of his greatest images, so I was thrilled to find this short video of Sam Abell describing how he made his classic photograph of cowboys branding cattle in Montana.
I love this statement: “What we’re all trying to do is make a layered, deep, complex, complicated photograph that doesn’t look complex or complicated.”
In talking about composition in my workshops and books I emphasize simplicity, since I think the single most common mistake people make is including too much in the frame. But my favorite images are rich and complex, without crossing the line into being busy and confusing. Obviously it takes years of experience to be able to make photographs like that – and Abell’s experience and mastery are on full display in this image.