A majority of landscapes include the horizon line. (It would be fair to say I’m obsessed with the horizon.) How the frame is divided (creating an aspect ratio within an aspect ratio) by this line speaks volumes. It directs the gaze up or down. It also creates an expressive ratio. Every proportion has a particular psychological inflection.

The ‘rule of thirds’ is an effective way of encouraging people to make images more directed, by prioritizing one element over another, and dynamic, through imbalance. But overlooking the power of other proportions is limiting, if not simplistic and insensitive. So too, is avoiding the middle or balance. Proportion is a visual force to be applied, rather than a rule to be adhered to.

There are a number of ways to achieve a desired effect; distort, crop, copy, or combine are four. Each method brings other effects with it.

How many ways can you think of dividing the frame for effect in your images?

Learn more in my digital photography and digital printing workshops.


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