Exercise 2.4 The two-dimensional plane

Print out another photo or do this in your editing software. It can be any photo – even a problematic one – but choose one with many subjects at the same approximate distance from the camera, like an interior.

• Study your image carefully.

• What catches your attention first?

• Where do your eyes go next?

• Are there things on the edges of the picture that distract you?

• Does your gaze remain inside the frame or is something pulling it out of the frame?

• Divide the frame. Where does the main subject lie? On one of the four points on the ‘golden section’ (below left)? In the centre? On one of the quadrants (below right)? Robert Enoch71 Foundations in Photography Now take a marker pen and draw round and name every element that takes your attention.

• Mark dominant shapes and groups of objects.

• Note when objects intersect or obscure each other. This could be distracting. For example, does the dog in the lower part of the frame seem to form a part of the picture or is he a distraction?

• Mark the main tonal and colour areas. In the photo of Mary in the beach hut, the white inside of the doors is the brightest part of the photo; this emphasises the picture’s frame within a frame.





  • The reflection of the main client/model in the bottom right of the frame catches the attention first, followed by the reflection of the assistant who is holding the dryer in his hand. It’s also because of the fact that both of them are looking at something that is outside of the frame so the viewer’s attention is diverted there.
  • This image consists of multiple frames within the picture because of the mirror. The assistant holding the dryer constitutes the bottom left of the frame and forces the viewer’s gaze outside the frame. Despite the fact that there is so much happening inside the frame, one gets distracted outside the frame.
  • The main subject lies on the bottom right (the bottom left intersection of the ‘golden section.’
  • It’s a complex image with a lot of activity happening inside the several frames that are happening due to the reflections of the environment being seen in them.
  • The first two white vertical frames as you go inside of the frame kind of mark a border to all the chaos that is happening inside. Also, the stark white offers a tonal contrast to the dark blacks and the dark gold of the wallpaper.

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