i can remember the day in art class when my teacher pointed out the compositional triangle in DaVinci’s “Virgin of the Rocks”. it jumped out at me. so simple a concept yet so anchoring and grounding to the elements. in this particular painting the pointed finger is such a subtle yet screaming applied line. i love it.
years later, i sit back and look at my work and again these lovely triangles jump out at me.
when i shoot, i shoot to have every element have a reason, to have a purpose. to just randomly throw in the fish would make my skin crawl, my stomach sick, and an immediate wave of anxiety and lack of confidence (for real, i experienced this with the fish.) but by deliberately giving the fish an important place within each frame, in many cases the fish served as an anchor of the triangle, and as a result my style forced itself out of me and me not forcing my style.
do i search for these triangles when composing my shots? no.
photography is the art of subtraction. it is fascinating. to eliminate and subtract out of my viewfinder (out of my world) what i don’t want, that is what i am always focusing on….to cut a line here, to hold that shape there, to balance the positive and negative spaces like so….and surprisingly the triangles just naturally come.
a buddy of mine, Mr. Jake Garn, also posted his thoughts on this subject to his photo blog. we were at discussion of this subject a few weeks ago. i couldn’t put my finger on the reason behind DaVinci and his appealing triangles – but i think Jake does a great job of clarifying more about these important and simple compositional shapes….if you want to learn more you can read about his theory of triangles here.