The Use of Geometric shapes in Photography

DSC_8951 - Copy (Small) DSC_8951 (Small)

When composing an image, the addition of geometric patterns or basic shapes such as lines, circles, squares and triangles can add structure and organization within that photograph. It can help the photographer convey an idea or feeling to the viewer. The overall purpose of this is simple, to keep the viewers eye within the frame of the image. The viewer may perceive only a “pleasing image” without ever knowing or asking why.

There is a psychology behind the use of geometric patters in art and how the human mind perceives each of these shapes.  Geometric shapes have been used in all types of art throughout the centuries and photography is no exception. The human mind perceives squares and rectangles to suggest conformity. Circles  suggest  completeness, triangles represent tension and lines represent movement.  Be aware there are variations of these shapes such as vertical versus horizontal lines versus diagonal with each representing something different but the basic idea is the same.  The goal being to engage the viewer.

There are two basic forms of geometry in photography, true and perceived.  A true form would be the rectangular window or doorway on a house. A perceived triangle could be three people in an image that when connected by an imaginary line form a triangle. Which form is used weather perceived or true depends on the opportunity presented to the photographer at the time.

This is one of the techniques used in composition. Examples of other techniques used include the use of opposing colors and  perspective  Again, depending on the subject, intent and overall goal of the message to be conveyed by the photographer will determine the technique used.

The above image shows an example of use of a few geometric shapes within an image. Also note the the image is in black and white to place emphasis on the shapes rather then the color version which may distract the viewers attention from the basic geometric shapes.

 

 

This entry was posted in Photography Tips and tagged , , , , .

2 Comments

  1. Chris September 30, 2014 at 12:44 pm #

    Chris, thanks for articulating the obvious, particularly with respect to true and perceived geometry. To emphasize both forms of the same scene the photographer may require only one, or myriad perspectives to evoke the desired result. In the photos above I see one true and two perceived triangles, although there may be many more. The triangle formed by the “base” of wheels, and the left and right “legs” extending from the outermost wheels to the top of the window is what makes this photo interesting to me.

  2. Thomas Bordowe June 24, 2016 at 10:52 pm #

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One Trackback

  1. By Visiting Artist-Tim Pearse – Photography Blog on December 23, 2016 at 4:29 pm

    […] Researching Geometry in Photography-This is the use of basic shapes within the composition of an image to keep viewers looking within the frame of an image. It is known that different shapes mean different things to viewers. ‘Circles suggests completeness, triangles represent tension and lines represent movement’.  http://cutano.com/2013/12/geometric-shapes-within-a-photograph/ […]

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