When we look at a painting, our eyes initially take in the entire picture before being drawn towards the focus point. As we immerse ourselves deeper into the painting, we may feel a sense of the rhythm that shapes the mood of the work, through a sense of movement of colours, lines, shapes, objects, and values, lending a sense of balance and harmony that moulds the mood into a state of feeling calm, relaxed, frantic, happy or sad.
This concept of “rhythm” is one of the classical elements of artistic composition, in both art and photography, so we can learn from the Old Masters.
Rhythm in a painting (or a photograph) is accomplished by variations and movement of repetitive patterns, inviting the eye to dance around the picture, resting on some patterns for a while before moving on.
Busy clusters of repeated patterns may create a sense of chaos, or of an impending storm, whilst fewer and more subtle repetitions create a sense of calm and restfulness.
Straight lines force the eyes to move quickly across the scene compared to blocks of colours, shapes, or values of light and dark, that hold your attention for a moment or more, in the same way that pauses do in music.
Rhythm may be regular or random in nature, expanding or diminishing, loud or muted, rapid or leisurely, and it is through skilful application of these that artists and photographers are able to create movement and life, transforming mere pictures into true works of art.
Besides bringing a picture to life, rhythm is important in creating and maintaining unity, harmony, and balance in a photograph, gathering all the elements together in a unified way. Alternatively, a stormy, chaotic, or frenzied atmosphere could be achieved by creating rhythms that deliberately upset the balance.
The use of rhythm applies to all genres of photography, from abstracts to still life, portraiture, and nature. Although its use in portraits is not all that obvious, subtle use of rhythm influences the mood of the picture and moves the focus gently around the picture towards the subject’s eyes.
Nature has its own intrinsic rhythm which, if harnessed, can result in masterpieces of photographic beauty.
Often neglected, the use of this thing called rhythm can elevate a photograph from mediocrity to brilliance by shaping the mood, providing a beat.
“Rhythm is as necessary in a picture as pigment. It is as much a part of paintings as music”.
(Walter J Phillips, Canadian painter)
Thank you so much dear Yvette
Lourens Durand CREW
Thank you all!
Daniel Springgay CREW
Beautiful mix of wonderful images quality every one - Congratulations on a fine article Lourens. Yvette wow girl well done..
Arnon Orbach CREW
Excellent article, wonderful images that are as goods as it can get. My compliments to Yvette and Lourens for their work.
Thank you, dear Arnon :-)
Thierry Dufour PRO
Splendid article, magnificent image, thank Lourens for the selection of one of my images. Thank Yvette and Lourens !!!
Thanks for your never lasting appreciation, dear Thierry!
Fine article and great selection of images to document it, Lourens. Congratulations to all authors ... Cheers, Yvette