I read the course notes and Michael Freeman’s ‘The Photographer’s Eye’ with interest as I had already independently observed, long before the course, how many times triangles occur in photography composition either as the binding composition element or by a geometrical dissection of a frame. A quick dip into ‘The Expert Photographer’ confirmed my sentiments with a quote Michael Freeman uses….
“It’s not really a case of why you should be using triangles in your composition, because you’ll come to realize that the inclusion of triangles is inevitable, it’s more about why you should be using them properly.” (Author unknown)
Here is one of my own images (a self rejected assignment image) where the subjects themselves are not in a triangular formation but the space in between the subjects give a loosely formed sense of implied triangle. I have sketched in the triangles I can find that help to bind the image together along with other design elements such as curves and eye lines.
As throughout ‘AoP – Elements of design’ I am taking the opportunity to explore works of other ‘greats’….
I have consulted my new Thames and Hudson published ‘Mugnum – book of photography.’ An image by Jean that is entitled ‘Grand Riviere, Martinique, 1979’ gave a lovely example of fishing boats on the shoreline converging to an implied triangle. In what would otherwise be a chaotic scene to capture the composition draws the eye through the image. AGAIN, and it seems a common theme with me, this is also a geometrically balanced image. What I can also notice now is the Gestalt rules holding true. I can identify the ‘law of similarity’ in all of the boats, the ‘law of closure’ in the triangular composition and the ‘law of continuation’ in the implied lines in other boats. There may be more ‘laws’ but I am yet to settle into these Gestalt principles fully.
In my desperate attempt to pull myself away from geometrically pleasing images I went on a hunt through the same book and found….
‘A Hebrew Lesson.’ It is a beautifully composed and simple image of three young children studying at a desk that provides the base of the implied triangle and the teacher leaning over providing the apex. There is a sense of perspective provided by the diagonal base to the image.
‘Clark Gable and Marilyn Monroe’. This is a close and intimate portrait of the pair. The base of the implied triangle is the arm. The turned in faces and an implied eye line provide the other two sides of the triangle.
Image found: Williams, V (2012). What Makes Great Photography 80 Masterpieces Explained. London: Quintessence Editions Ltd.. 183
An image I have stumbled across that initially perplexed me because, on the face of it, it appears to be a mere snap gave me food for thought. The image works but it was hard to tell why it does on the first casual glance. The image is kept in the Irish Museum of Art and therefore must be held in esteem. Entitled ‘County Down, Ireland, 1978’, this image is about many things but here I am looking at triangles. The somewhat awkwardly positioned group of hunters is in fact grouped in implied lines of triangles. The book I found this image in makes no mention of this though. Although this isn’t where I found the image, you can see the image on this link. It is the first image on the third row down.