Personal learning log for BA (Hons) Photography Course

Shapes – Triangles

Shapes exist, they have existed in nature since the beginning, it is the definition of shape that has developed as man has learned to draw, build and manufacture.  The more regular a shape the more frequently it is seen especially in the built environment and therefore the more frequently it is recognized in the natural environment.

Regular Shapes have a reason, initially used in manufacture or construction to add strength, some shapes are stronger than others; the more regular a shape is the stronger it is both physically and visually.  There are 3 basic shapes, triangles, rectangles and circles, all other regular shapes that we identify with are made up from these 3 basics.

Shape’s in images provide many functions, they can enclose, support, direct and have a stronger physicality than lines because of the greater interaction.  Of the 3 basic forms of shape the simplest and strongest is the triangle, it can link 3 points, it can direct the viewer and they can enclose a group, they are also more visible in the natural and built world than other shapes.

The rectangle is more complex for the eye because to link any 3 points without creating 2 triangles involves the eye traveling through a subsidiary point.  However because they relate to the shape of photographic film or sensors and because they are seen as enclosures in the built world they are easily identified with.  They are less often seen in the natural world and because of the issues of perspective can create issues in photographic composition.

The circle is the tightest form of enclosing shape but is the most difficult to construct without elements that are naturally circular.

The following images show real and implied triangles.


The strength of this homemade boat lies in the triangular sail, which is expected in the mind and the stay ropes for the mast which form a triangle.

Designed to show a triangle by perspective the roof of this Tibetan Building converges to the apex of the image, the resulting subdivisions at the top of the image create more equal triangles while the roof supports create yet more triangles with their point towards the bottom of the image.


This inverted triangle by perspective is an ornamental pool. The repeating triangles from the far edge, its reflection through to the near edge draw the eye whilst enclosing the reflected trees. The small pieces of grass on the left aspect was left on purpose.  The image was taken in an area themed as a Japanese Garden and somewhere in my memory I remember reading that Japanese Gardeners would tend a perfect garden but always leave one small detail of imperfection.

This final image was shot at a wedding 2 weeks ago. There is an obvious triangle of the 3 main dancing couples amongst a full dance floor. The apex of the triangle is the Bride and Groom with the other actors in the triangle looking at them.




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