What we are looking at is not necessarily what we are seeing. Really. There is a difference between what are are looking at and what we are seeing. What we are looking at shapes how we see.
Shapes are essentially closed lines. Shapes can be simple or complex; organic or geometric. Like lines, different kinds of shapes can elicit specific responses. Curving shapes, like those found in the human body or in nature, can be calming. Geometric shapes with straight lines and angles, like those found in urban landscapes can imply stability, and geometric shapes with diagonal lines and acute angles can give a chaotic or frenetic energy to an image. Here are a few images that use dominant organic or geometric shapes in their compositions.
In this reception photograph, Simi Rabinowitz has exposed for the spotlights on the marble floor, breaking up the frame into two large circular shapes. These circles of colored light are further divided by the dancing women's legs and their corresponding shadows. The two groups of shapes compliment each other - the curve of the calf echoing the curving path of the spotlight.
Jules Ko's choice to frame this image vertically emphasizes the repeating and turning angles of the bricks that we see as a pattern as it recedes from the foreground. The positioning of the shoes and the shoes themselves is a pattern. Instantly recognizable, the iconic and graphic qualities of beloved Converse All Stars punctuate the image as they form a line toward a vanishing point. This essential paring down of the groomsmen portrait, where they are and hat they wore is a statement of personal style.
Sandra Costello of Studio SMC shares this interesting image of the groom getting ready. In this animation, you see first how Sandra's compositional choice has broken up the frame into a series of shapes, then the repetition of shapes and colors - in the bodies of the two men that are doubled by their reflection in the mirror. A directional line, formed by the series of heads brings the eye across the frame from right to left and then the gaze of the man on the left sweeps the eye back across the frame diagonally. Repetition of elements, like line and shape, is pattern. And we humans like patterns. Pattern, or repetition, with out a break can be uninteresting. Our eyes are drawn to places where patterns are broken; where there is variation.
The Visual Thinker is Boston Wedding and Portrait Photographer Allana Taranto of Ars Magna Studio who admits to letting the puppy get on the bed and thusly ruining years of sleeping, but the puppy does give the best snuggles. So there’s that.