O Caritas

17th Street [ 13 | 365 ]

I had an immediate response to this photograph. I liked it; it was instantly pleasing to me, a tiny dopamine rush to the brain. So I looked at it more closely, trying to understand what it was about the photo that hit me so strongly and quickly.

And it didn’t make any sense. None of the individual elements seemed to be in balance. None. The structures–off-center and of different architectural styles. The straight lines of the poles–disparate and off-center. The two people–unrelated and off-center. The lone tree–off-center.

This is the problem with deconstructing a photo and weighing the individual compositional elements. This is also the beauty of deconstructing a photo, because after a moment you realize it IS a perfectly balanced photo. The woman on the left of the frame has the same visual weight as the tree on the right. The two poles have the same visual weight as the shadow. The guy sitting casually has the same visual weight as the nearest pole. And that barely visible doorway right in the center of the image is an anchor, holding the entire photograph steady and in place.

Every compositional element works with every other element to create a pleasing whole. Remove one, and the photo would lose its vitality. And think about this: a second of hesitation in releasing the shutter and that woman would have walked out of the frame

The eye–of the viewer and the photographer–recognizes the balance and responds before the brain can catch up.

Blog photograph copyrighted to the photographer and used with permission by utata.org. All photographs used on utata.org are stored on flickr.com and are obtained via the flickr API. Text is copyrighted to the author, greg fallis and is used with permission by utata.org. Please see Show and Share Your Work