Protikkha (waiting eagerly)

Next up, an absolute stunner – a compositional jewel – from my friend Aftab Uzzaman (aftab.)


With an image this well put together, it is difficult to know where to start. The subject itself is appealing in its power and grace – immediately arresting. But we then have compositional elements that play into each other, holding it all together. There is the powerful diagonal formed by the snake’s head and the upper curves of its body, extended forward in the texture of the log into the bottom corner: this provides the primary axis of the scene.

But also, the loop of body ion conjunction with the diagonal creates a triangle that dominates the scene, one that combines with the limited depth of field to pull the eye off the primary line, balancing it perfectly between foreground and distance. (There is, of course, the implicit – perhaps overly pronounced – S-curve in there too.) The balance does not stop there. The presence on the right side is balanced nicely by the out-of-focus negative space background that occupies the top left of the image. Soft, and the source of the lighting.

Then, fortuitously, there is one more element that works wonders: the knot on the side of the branch, just to the left of the snake’s body curve, that though not an exact mirroring, still acts as an echo of the form of its head: a virtual shadow.

Two additional elements also work in the image’s favour: the rather harsh lighting, and the natural pattern of scales that it picks out.

If danger were always this beautiful, we would all embrace it without fear.

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