Soft touch

Another of my Flickr contacts, Allison (snippets_from_suburbia), provides the latest sample of excellent photographic composition:


It is not often that I would choose an image that includes lens flare to laud. In this case, however, it is an integral part of the composition. This is a picture about the light touch of ideas, and how they germinate once rested upon the soil of one’s mind.

An idea – planted in the mind, nourished sometimes, neglected others – often grows despite receiving neither care nor tending. One can try to pluck at certain ideas to remove them, but the roots are often deep, they take hold, they burrow down into the psyche and consume each moment of one’s day.

As such, the inclusion of such an extreme stretch of negative space – for the thought to grow into – is vital; the subject (itself, interestingly, firmly rooted into the bright surface of mind) is is almost entirely below the secondary golden ratio.

Within all that room, the gradient provided by the lens flare does three things:

  • it represents the light that is needed for a germinated idea to sprout roots and grow.
  • it provides interest and texture to the background
  • it anchors an image that would otherwise be horizontally symmetrical

It is this last point that makes the whole picture work: the subject is centred, yet there are touches that provide a horizontal dynamic. One is the lens flare. The other more subtle: the ever so slight tilt of the seed’s line upwards to the left is counterbalanced by the shadow of its pod, sharply down to the left. Direction. Motion.

Overall, a stunning combination of power and delicacy; of simplicity and deep meaning.

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