A place to think about composition in photography

Urban Landscapes and the Golden Section

The Golden Section is a design idea that has been around for at least two thousand years and its purpose is to make a composition more pleasing to the eye.

Roughly speaking if you divide up a picture into thirds then things of interest are more appealing if they are placed on one of these lines and special points of interest are where horizontal and vertical lines cross.

I took this picture a few days ago, and liked it enough to put it in the blog.

Mill and Blue Doors

Mill and Blue Doors

I liked the picture but wasn’t sure what was behind this instinct.

I thought it compositionless (that is to say not conforming to any rules)  However when I looked more closely I realised that it was based on the golden section.

I have put the section lines in the picture below so you can see what I mean.

Mill and Blue doors with golden section lines added

Mill and Blue doors with golden section lines added

For comparison I took a similar picture with the doors set centrally:

Mill & blue doors central

Mill & blue doors central

Placing the interest centrally doesn’t work as well as being placed on the section line.


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