Monday, 15 July 2013

02.06 Rhythm

When an image gives the viewer a persistent, enduring sense of recurrence, it is said to be possessed of rhythm. Rhythm has direction; the eye is led along a particular course and is therefore, by definition, dynamic.

Rhythm is achieved compositionally,
  • through an ordered spatial arrangement of a sequence of visually similar elements;
  • in a manner which compels continuous eye flow, through the use of dynamic lines like diagonals and the periodicity of elements synchronised to eye saccades;
  • at a scale which allows time for visual momentum to be established and continue beyond the image frame by the Gestalt Principle of Continuity.
The last criterion usually necessitates the framing of the image in landscape orientation, based on the eye's preference for horizontal movement.

Rhythm has momentum. A further compositional decision to be made is whether it should be allowed to:
  1. continue - giving the image a sense of suspension; or
  2. stop (through the placement of a dissimilar element the end of the sequence) - giving the image dynamic contrast.

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