Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Art of Photography: Project 13

I really enjoyed this project as I found it interesting to learn about the 'Golden Section' and to find examples of it in practice. It was however a little confusing at first and the Golden Section shown in the text book is different to the one used on many sites on the Internet, and when you start to read about it there is much more information to be found.

The Golden Section is based around the idea of the 'Golden Ratio' which is 1:1.618, and is in turn based on the number Phi, 1.618033988749895.....

It is a ratio or proportion which when shown on a line for example, divides a line segment at the unique point where the ratio of the whole line (A) to the large segment (B) is the same as the ratio of the large segment (B) to the small segment (C). In other words, A is to B as B is to C.

This happens where A is 1.618 times B and B is 1.618 times C.

This ratio is believed to be found in many things from nature to the pyramids and can be found in many different shapes and designs. It has been found by scholars and mathematicians, and used by many artists in paintings, sculptures and photographs, etc.

The idea of the Golden Section is that in a rectangle of photograph proportions there are ways of dividing the frame so that the ratios of areas inside the frame are equal or close to the Golden Ratio. A photograph rectangle can be divided so that the ratio of a small area to a larger area is equal to the ratio of the larger area to the whole photograph frame. Then with these rules, if an area of interest lies on one of the four intersections creating the Golden Section, or if the shapes in an image are close to the areas created by the Golden Section, it is believed to be pleasing to the eye.

Here is one of my photographs with the 'Golden Section' idea overlaid:-

I really feel like this wasn't explained very well in the text book and left me with just a vague idea of rectangle shapes in a frame and how I was supposed to find things to fit them. Consequentially, I researched more on the Internet and when photographing for this project I ended up looking for the 'Golden Rectangle' or 'Golden Spiral' in my photographs, which is still based around the Golden Ratio but implemented differently. Here squares within the frame diminish in sizes equal to the Golden Ratio and spiral into the frame. A spiral touching the opposite edges of each square also spirals into the frame forming the Golden Spiral. To use this in photography you can place subjects in the squares formed by the Golden Rectangle or in line with the Golden Spiral to lead the viewer into the picture.

Here are a couple of my photographs with the 'Golden Spiral' idea overlaid:-

I also found that the Golden Section and Golden Spiral ideas follow the same proportions within an image so that both could be used together to compose an image!

Here is one of my pictures with both the Golden Section and Golden Spiral overlaid:-

As it says in the text book, I understand that rules for photography cannot be used in every situation, with every subject. Being tied to the rules too much is not good! But with subjects where the Golden Section or Golden Spiral can work, I now know and understand them enough to be able to use them to help me create attractive compositions in my photographs.

Finally, I constructed this to show how the Golden Section and Golden Spirals can be used to compose an image in many ways!

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