Rhythm of Lake Garden

1. The man and the Stonehenge look-alike.

2. Rhythm of the sprouting shrubs.

3. The pillars.

4. The bench.

In this post I'm going to explore the concept of rhythm in visual composition. Just like music, rhythm puts uniformity into an image, and creates balance. It also adds tranquillity when the elements are similar and repetitive.

For the first image, the rhythm is set by the vertical stones in its pattern. It sets an underlying tone to the image, the bold, rectangular elements give a feeling of heft & strength. In the image, the elements are arranged in a slightly haphazard fashion, there's no clear order or progression to be seen. The single person stretching his arms to touch his feet in the middle of the image creates contrast and punctuation- the small, organic element punctuating against large, heavy, grey-coloured rocks. The attention is naturally drawn to the person, also helped by the centre placement and the leading line from the bottom right of the image.

The second image is a little different from the first. Primarily, the rhythm in this image is clearly seen- it's the orderly lines of the growing scrubs that shows uniformity, repetition, and symmetry. This pattern is also somewhat strengthened by the vertical lines of the fence behind the plants. So, how does this image feels? It feels tranquil, for one. It feels calm, and balanced. However, it is lacking in strength- possibly due to the nature of the elements that make up the rhythm: the sprouting scrubs are thin, curvy, and short. That does not exude a feeling of strength nor solidity. This image does, however, give a feeling of life and growth.

The third image, as you can see, is similar to the second in terms of its repetitive pattern and balanced rhythm. However, the elements of this rhythm are strong, thick tree trunks which extend beyond the image, and this image suggests strength, solidity, and unity. You might also notice the slanted ground, which upsets the balance a little, however that did not stop the trees from being vertical- which might suggest even more strength in the trees for doing that. Hence, "The pillars."

The forth image looks chaotic, with few uniform lines and multiple criss-crossing lines at the background. I feel that the rhythm is mostly set by the harmonious, lush green colour, contrasted by the main subject which is the brown coloured bench. As you can see, rhythm can also be set by the colour of a photograph.


In continuation of the previous post about square composition, the images in this post clearly shows that many scenes are more suited for rectangular format rather than square. Take photo no. 2, for example. The additional space at bottom and top are not contributing much to the image, thus possibly weakening it. Shooting in landscape format could have improved it. "The pillars" too, is more suited for rectangular image, in this case in portrait orientation, due to the dominant vertical lines of the image.


Before I end, many thanks to Ted Forbes from The Art of Photography podcast, whom I learned about the concept of rhythm in composition, in addition to many other important photography theories. I strongly recommend people to watch his podcasts, they're all very insightful and he is really an excellent teacher.

Thanks for reading.

Film | Rhythm of Lake Garden
Yashica Mat-124G, Fujifilm Pro 160NS

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