why did the butterfly?

Another name is added to those whose work appears within these blog posts; my friend Jenny Downing, despite claiming not to have a knack for composition, produced this gem.

why did the butterfly?

This is another of those pictures that jumped out at me the moment I saw it. There are so many elements here that make for excellent composition.

The first is the unusual use of an unmatched triple: two butterflies and a flower; still three but managing to imply the greater intimacy of only two living subjects. Or is it two in focus and the third just slightly receded? This provides a very subtle triangle between the parties.

Next is the diagonal, from the bottom right to the top left. This is no ordinary diagonal, but a fanned diagonal, expanding on its way out, along the line of the flower’s stem, and then re-converging in the soft colour of the background. To make it more interesting the fanning reaches from that bottom corner to the right-side golden ratio at the vertical mid-point (the flower), balanced perfectly by side starting from the left-side equivalent point (the butterfly’s eye).

That flower stem, as well as being an unusual form of diagonal, provides anchoring for the whole scene, and acts as one side of another large triangle, which extends out of frame, and has as its second side one of the pattern lines from the blurred grass in the background. The distinct geometry of that background is another amazing attribute of this image, especially when combined with the luminosity and tonal-variation gradients that ride up the image (to that cluster of background flowers).

A beautifully lit, lively and dynamic image.

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