Sunday at Cimiez

Today – late – another image from Nina Skottun (guerriere) that I picked as much for its artistic presence as the composition.

Sunday  at Cimiez

While this is another of those images that is very simple in composition, it is specifically that simplicity – combined with how it was processed and the choice of subject – that makes it stand out. The mystery of such a hat and antique driving goggles is going to catch the attention of anyone with a penchant for the class of yesteryear. Add the soft focus, toned-down processing and touch of texture (both natural in the bag and added), and the limited palette enhances the nostalgia.

That mood is as valid an aspect of composition as the positioning used within the image. Now, I will admit to a few pixels’ leniency in what follows, but to ask for more would pickiness for its own sake. The positions I am interested in are the golden ratios, and there are many of them. (I am considering everything here within the inner part of the image, not as extended with the matting.) The first positional line I will consider is the only one that is not a golden ratio: the vertical mid-point. This line runs across the top of the front rims of the goggles. The lesser golden ration below that gives is the bottom rim of the glasses while the upper golden ratio above lands precisely on the front rim of the top of the hat.

If those proportions weren’t enough, the right-side edge of the goggles lines up within a pixel of the right-side primary golden ratio, while the left-most element of metal – one of the rivets holding the goggles to their strap – provide the position of the left-side secondary golden ratio. The hat’s rim on the right also, almost by expectation, adds the right-side secondary to the lines in use.

While it may sound slightly contrived to reverse-engineer an image such as this and find so many golden ratios on edges of key elements, it is the fact that things do line up in this way that gives the whole scene such a naturally balanced feel. I do not pretend to know whether all this was considered at the time the image was cropped, but I do know the effect it has on enhancing the aesthetic appeal of the finished product.

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