Turning Point: Breaking The Pattern

Arthur Meyerson is an award-winning commercial, editorial, and fine art photographer celebrated for his control of composition and command of light and color. In 2012 he published The Color of Light, a collection of iconic, classic images that included this photograph.


© Arthur Meyerson

“I’d been a professional photographer for 10 years when I took this photo at a rice planting ceremony in Kyoto, Japan, in 1984. I was taking a workshop conducted by the brilliant Ernst Haas, who later became a mentor and friend. Prior to this photograph I don’t think I truly understood the importance of gesture, pattern, and counterpoint.

“I was photographing the five ladies on the bank when I saw the woman who would pass in front, breaking the pattern and adding interest to the shot. That’s something I’ve tried to do ever since, and tried to explain to students. A photograph with a specific pattern or design often has an overwhelming impact the first time you see it. Then as you look at it and figure out the pattern and the design, it’s like a magic trick that’s been revealed, and when you know how it’s done, it loses something. I like that this person crossed in front and added a question of ‘Why? What’s going on?’

“This photo still resonates with me, and I always see something I hadn’t seen before. That’s the sign of a photo that really stands above the rest.”

Visit Arthur Meyerson’s website, www.arthurmeyerson.com, to see more images from The Color of Light and find out about his upcoming workshops.

This column is the result of our belief that many accomplished photographers can indicate one photograph of particular significance to their careers. It’s also the result of our desire to hear their stories.