Author: Richard D. Zakia

Richard D. Zakia

Richard D. Zakia, Ed.D., Professor Emeritus at Rochester Institute of Technology, taught in many areas of photography including graphic design and multimedia design. During his 34 years at R.I.T., Dr. Zakia served as the chair of the Fine Art Photography Department and Graduate Program in Imaging Arts, and for a six-year period was a photographic engineer in development and research at Kodak. He was the recipient of the Eisenhart Outstanding Teaching Award and the author/co-author of 12 books on photography, including The Focal Encyclopedia of Photography, Teaching Photography, Photographic Composition: A Visual Guide, and Perception and Imaging, the 4th edition of which was Dr. Zakia's final book, publishing later in 2012. Dr. Zakia passed away on March 12, 2012 and will be greatly missed by many, especially the Focal staff.

Posts by Richard D. Zakia:

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Perception and Imaging: The Subjective Contour


“Most creative photographs are departures from reality and it seems to take a higher order of craft to make this departure than to simulate reality” – Ansel Adams The two triangles shown to the side provide a powerful example of how our visual system, given incomplete information, fills in to form a closure on a…

Figure 18.4 Two Walker Visuals. (For additional Walker Visuals and contact information go to

Perception and Imaging: The Walker Visuals


The idea of looking at something not well defined, like markings on a wall or passing clouds, and imagining what it might be goes back to Renaissance days and even earlier, to Chinese artists. One of my favorite examples of cloud watching and imagination is an early Peanuts cartoon. Charlie Brown, Lucy, and Linus are…

MOvement in photography

Composition and Movement


Stop Motion: Even though the camera’s shutter speed was fast enough to stop the movement of the St. Johns basketball player, the fact that he is in midair conveys movement. The body angle and goal are strong clues as to the direction of that movement. The blur of the Duke defender’s hand not only confirms…

Titles on photographs

Photographic Captions: Generic vs Descriptive


A caption is part of the photograph, part of the gestalt. Rudolf Arnheim Question: Captions can be used to raise a question. In this case, is this a photograph of flowers? Is a dandelion a flower? Most would probably say “no”; some might say “yes.” What defines a flower—color, beauty, fragrance, rareness? A botanist would…


Photo op Friday: Vantage Point Power!


Photo op Friday: Choose a subject of interest and photograph it from three different vantage points. Which best represents your subject, and why? Tweet a link with your photos to @focalpress and be entered to win a signed copy of Photographic Composition: A Visual Guide.   A good photograph is knowing where to stand. Ansel Adams…

Self Organizing Tendencies

Self organizing tendencies


Gestalt Composition: Continuation The eye prefers to follow things that have the least amount of change or interruption. Notice how the eye follows the shadow of the tree trunk as it continues up the wall and connects with the top of the tree trunk on the other side of the wall. The eye movement is…

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