As a musician (I studied at Berklee College of Music in Boston), I can relate to that quote – because the space between the notes is just as important as the notes themselves. No space . . . and you have just noise.
In photography, space is important, too. If all the elements in a scene are jammed up, your picture will be a mess.
These two pictures “work” because there is space between the subjects in the scenes.
You can create space by orchestrating a scene. In the making of the top image, we asked the riders to space out the horses during this set up shot. The first shots was just a jumble of shapes.
In the making of the bottom image, I carefully chose a shooting angle that clearly showed the butterflies mating. (I used my Canon ring light, by the way, for that even lighting.)
Your assignment: take a few pictures this weekend and focus on space.
P.S. Speaking of being at Berklee, world-famous Photoshop Expert Eddie Tapp and Canon’s Steve Inglima are both skilled musicians. So is artist John Paul Caponigro and the Mac Group’s Joe Brady. Tony Sweet is an accomplished jazz drummer. Scott Kelby? He plays keyboards, guitar and he sings. And… Ansel Adams played the piano! I guess photographers and musicians have something in common: We all think about space.