Archive for the ‘ Borders ’ Category


Adding a new name to those featured here, a recently added Flickr contact, Ali Azimian gets his first outing…

While this may at first appear to simply be a gorgeous portrait shot, it is far more than that. Yes, the subject is a beautiful lady, and that fact alone helps make the image appealing. But it is the right half of the image as negative space that ensures the eye is directed at the model.

The high key processing is an interesting feature, as it largely masks the subject’s features, leaving only the subtlest outline to define her nose… it becomes a process of discovery to obtain definition. This then leaves the face defined by eyes and mouth – a sharply focused triplet without distrcation, the whole wrapped in a border of mostly softly blurred hair.

A stunning entrance; subtle yet powerful.


Washer Woman

Another shot from my Flickr contact Ethan‘s trip through Burma – it’s all in the little details…

Washer Woman

There are three parts to this image, though most people probably only notice the first – the most prominent – which grabs the viewer’s attention. That primary element is the subject: the washer woman, in stark silhouette, but distinct enough in form that there is no doubt what she is doing, or of her role in society. She is the balance that holds all else together: yin to society’s yang, which is reflected in the wrapping curvature of her body shape and the complementary form that is not silhouetted.

The placement of this balancing symbol perfectly on the intersection of lower primary and left-side secondary golden ratios is a clear element of mathematical balance. Though the image might still work otherwise, the impact would be nowhere near as evocative.

The second element is the secondary scene: the land beyond the lake, with its faint layering of trees: a cascade of softer shadow-silhouettes as one climbs above the secondary golden ratio that is the water’s edge, towards the far distance of the sky.

And lastly, the emptiness of one of the most powerful framing elements of all: negative space. The expanse of water fills at least half the image, and yet it is not there, but for the texture that gives it scale.

Undeniably powerful.

fenced in

First featured only four posts ago, Adrian gets another mention…

fenced in

This is an interesting shot, in the way the interplay between the two subjects works.

On the one hand, we have a centred sun, a ball of luminescence that actually has texture to it, which is surrounded by bordering elements: the negative space outside the silhouetted fence. In the lower left side, the fence additionally provides framing in the form of the curved wire.

The second subject is the fence itself, and the finer details of the coarse vegetation that accompanies it – black-lined details against a very simple background. The part where it interacts most directly with the background, despite being but tracery besides the more solid forms of posts and barbed wire, is fascinating. Because of this double-subject, the fence falls into the rarely seen compositional category of subject as border.

It is impressive that something as easily overlooked as a rough section of fence could hold such visual fascination.


Continuing a recent series that includes some fabulous wildlife scenes, Lilian Lemonnier brings us this piece of avian magic.

la timide

The composition of this image is quite stunning. Yes, there is the soft colour scheme of yellows and blue, cut through with lines of green, but it is the overall layout of the scene that really makes it work. Depth of field is expertly controlled, keeping the subject on one layer with a supporting baseline of in-focus flowers set against a similarly-toned background.

Also working for the image is the repetition of triangular elements: the left-corner anchor up to the bird, and the stem it is perched upon. Even the subject’s own profile provides a triangle. Larger areas hint again at that layout, creating balance.

The bird’s placement is another interesting detail: not with the eye on the golden ratio as one might expect me to pick, but with head and chest butting up against it. The little bit of negative space manages to convert the position from moving into the frame, to – thanks to the head-down pose – the titular emotion of timidity.

still perky, despite the rising odds

It’s time for a bit of decay from Kate Mellersh.

As compositions go, this is stark evidence that simplicity is power. There are two dominant elements at play: a border at the top and right edges, and a clear-cut subject in the lower left. Between them, a diagonal through the negative space of abstract chaos.

Captivating; fascinating; pure.


Marcus Lam (DodogoeSLR) has only one previous mention herein, but that is largely because he doesn’t post enough. When he does, many are impressive shots, as this not-really-ex.


There are many things one can do with portraiture photography to make the the image really stand out. Most involve a slight twist on the standard view of a person. Here, there are two of those techniques used, and several other compositional elements that make this an excellent work. The most obvious differentiator here is the use of a landscape rather than a portrait view of a subject who is, essentially, upright. This provides borders in the form of the negative space background, allowing the eye to wander sideways a little, but always be drawn back to Erica. The second twist is the choice to light her back, throwing the face into high contrast, and allowing the overall form of her perch atop those heels to dominate over any overt femininity.

While those two aspects may be the elements that make the image stand out, it is the compositional elements that keep one glued to it: the prevalence of triangles (head and bent arm; body to extended hand; tighter body and leg shape), and the way they interact with fine but stark lines, which bring the eye upwards to that devilish smirk.

It may be a simple shot, but it is subtle; enticing.

Sunset Light On Four Mile Beach

There was a recent post from Andy Poupart (andy_57) that I very nearly posted. Luckily, I passed it up, and this gem, even stronger, came along.

Besides the all too obvious stunning colours captured here, three is some marvellous additional elements of composition that play into the image. Perhaps the most obvious is the triplet of stones in the lower left corner. These achieve many things at once: they are foreground interest, anchor, and the traces where the surf has run off them provide a very clear direction/leading lines. This sense of direction is supported by the foreground interest on the other side of the image, where, thanks to a suitably low shooting position, the flow-lines created by the water in the sand are an enthralling texture (view it large to see).

And so far, we have not extended any mentionable distance into the image. Going further, some of the gems of the lighting show up: the backlit wave breaking and the glowing cliff-face that finds itself reflected in the middle distance. The image is so full of detail that nothing can count as negative space. As well as the sense of direction from the lower left corner, we have a similar diagonal running the other way across the image, formed by the combination of shoreline and cliff.

Lastly, the pairing of the cliff on one side and the break in the clouds on the other, where the setting sun makes the heavens glow, act as border elements to draw the eye into the heart of the image, through the gap in the rocks.

So perfect a location, wherein one could easily abandon a soul.

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