Monday, December 12, 2011

Composition and the Fibonacci Spiral

No. I haven't gone all Dan Brown/DaVinci Code on everyone. Sure, Brown used Fibonacci numbers as clues in his best-selling religious thriller but that has little to do with photography.

Or does it?

Fibonacci's ratio can be geometrically translated a number of ways. One way is into a spiral called, as you might have already guessed, the Fibonacci Spiral. It's a spiral almost identical to another cool spiral called the Golden Spiral. In nature, these spirals are seen often enough. For instance, we see them in spiral galaxies, leastwise in pictures or through a telescope, and we see them in some sea shells. Spirals like these are also seen in photographic and other artistic compositions. Some call it "Divine Composition." Divine Composition is like the Rule of Thirds gone god-like.

There's an entertaining, quick-read, blog post about this Rule of Thirds and Fibonacci stuff (as it applies to photographic composition) on photographer Jake Garn's web site. Click Here to check it out.

BTW, I'm not suggesting you come up with some sort of a Fibonacci overlay template when fine-tuning your work. (Via cropping in post.) Doing so, leastwise for me, would be adding a way too scientific and technical aspect to that part of my work I consider the art part rather than the science part. Still, I often pose, frame, or crop my models with an obvious nod to the Rule of Thirds and, who knows? Maybe the spirit sometimes moves me to apply a bit of Divine Composition to some of my pics? Perhaps even without realizing what I'm doing? You know, sort of like being possessed, albeit not demonically possessed.

Wait! Maybe I am demonically possessed? Especially considering the content of much of what I shoot. Plus, there's all that photography stuff about the Devil being in the details. And I'm definitely a guy who pays attention to the details in my photography work. Oh well. It doesn't really matter if I'm divinely inspired on occasion or the Devil makes me do it as long as my pics turn out okay and the checks clear.

There's no Fibonacci Spiral evident in the full-frontal nude pic of Jayme I attached to this update but, I have to admit, she both divinely inspires me while simultaneously eliciting some devilish thoughts in my head.


mdkauffmann said...

Lightroom 3 has a Fibonacci Spiral overlay built in, there is no need to create one. Develop module, crop mode, press O until it cycles to the spiral, and then Shift+O will change the "math" behind it and where the spiral ends.

jimmyd said...

@mdkauffmann: Who knew? Well, not me. I don't have or use Lightroom.

Rick said...

Oh great. Another rule to ignore.

jimmyd said...

@Rick: The Fibonacci or Golden spiral, aka Divine Composition, isn't a rule, it's represented by a line. A line which forms a pattern and delineates a space where elements of an image can be placed to increase interest in the image's composition.

Kold_Kadavr_flatliner, sub/dude said...

God bless you with discernment, brudda, for this is only our finite existence: what WE caused has effects on our infinite destiny. You'll find-out more soon when the Warning comes for all of U.S. Be at peace, brudda. Let's hope you don't croak till you have the chance to repent. Don't understand? I'm certainly no better than you, sir, as I'm only a sinfull mortal, too -blessed holy socks hath spoken

sven ellirand said...

The "sacred geometry" that exists in the spiral, as applied to architecture, which is where the golden mean really originated, was based on the divinity that exists in human anatomy. It's not about composition. It's about sacred geometry.