Monday, February 17, 2014

A Contemplative Look at the Principles of Design - Balance

A feeling of balance results
when the visual elements are
arranged symmetrically or
asymmetrically to create the
impression of equality in
weight or importance.

  I prefer asymmetry.  It comes, partly, from my love of Chinese landscape painting.  When things are symmetrical, I am overcome with a feeling of static and somewhat boring certainty.  Like the image is most unpleasing to my eye.  A horizon line right in the middle gives nothing makes no "statement" about what you are seeing and how you are seeing it.

   Now if I were to crop the image into an asymmetrical composition, I immediately like it far better.  There is a tension and a visual movement that is lacking above.  You can begin to see that even though the horizon line is still relatively centralize your eye moves between the large bail and small bales...into the picture.

   The large bale is balanced by the many little bales as well as the large open area to the left of it.  As in Chinese painting, "empty" space is very important, giving the eye a place to rest.  Interestingly, when I tried this with the left side of the photograph it didn't work.  The hay wagon and small bales were all on the same plane and didn't create the visual recession I like.

   Experiment with balance when you are photographing.  Try both vertical as well as horizontal compositions...symmetrical and asymmetrical balance.  See what each has to say to you.  Do you like to keep your focal point centralized or off to one side?  Do you think much about it at all?

   You might like to look at a post I did on "Framing Your World" as this also touches on the idea of creating different types of balance in your photographs.  Each will give a different interpretation to the landscape.

   Photographers are dependent on what they find in the landscape but you are in control of how you frame it...that will make all the difference in the world to the outcome of both the photograph and the reflection.


Mystic Meandering said...

What a difference in the *feel* of the two photos! Am definitely pulled *into* the 2nd one... I hadn't really thought about this before... Thanks!

Patricia Turner said...

Painters can orchestrate balance much easier. We photographers have to be acutely aware of framing and format. It does add a lot to the image.