Intensity (6)

Next up, after a month’s gap, another offering from Susanne Meyer (sannesu), reviving a theme of hers from a year back, but with greater punch.


When it comes to presenting a sense of intensity, one of the most powerful tools available is the breaking of compositional rules. This image does that artfully, but also keeps many rules intact.

The most obvious broken rules are the provision of space to move into, and breathing room around the subject. This combination of a tight crop and positioning the subject tightly up against the edge of the image achieve a single result: expressing the urgency of the moment; power and action.

The use of rim-lit silhouette and a backdrop sunlit spray only serves to enhance the intensity of the action. The surfer has control, but only by riding on the very edge of the envelope.

There are four more elements used here that are of compositional interest:

  • the filling of the frame provided by the multiple S-curves of the surfer’s body
  • the anchoring of the right foot in the bottom right corner, pushing against the tightness
  • the use of golden ratios, with the surfer’s centre of gravity on the primary and his rear hand reaching push against the secondary
  • a very strong lower-left to upper-right diagonal (even though there is almost nothing actually on said diagonal), created by the lighting gradient, three specular highlights in the top corner, and the echo of the wave’s angle.

A wonderfully intense image.

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