Photo Challenge: Focus on Shapes

Circular flower bed

HeyJude’s challenge this week is to ‘approach your photograph with an eye for shape rather than form… Shapes are squares, rectangles, circles, and triangles… two-dimensional and “flat” in nature.’

Some challenges are easier than others. I did manage to find one picture I thought might qualify. The building interests me because of its stark rectangles. The flower beds in the middle ground are geometrical. The circle in the foreground is fairly flat.

Coloured paper ceiling lights

But the rest are gestures in the right direction. It seems I do not focus on shapes. Patterns, yes – and patterns might bring shapes almost by accident as above and below.

Looking upwards into a garden pergola frame

Many of my pictures of flowers are ruled by geometry of a softer kind. I can perhaps explain by showing you a picture I would not usually share because it fails the shape/geometry test:

Mauve pink rhododendron

I remember taking the picture and wanting it to come out well. The colour of the rhododendron was very alluring – just on the mauve side of pink. The lolling flower style with its yellow stigma interests me. So far so good. But the shape the leaves and flowers make is not pleasing. The balance is all wrong. I have cropped in fairly tightly here, but I also tried several other options that didn’t help.

This would not have occurred to me but for the challenge, but I think I am judging the shapes as two dimensional forms. A softer, less distracting leafy background might have helped. Lines made by the leaf stalks and veins (and the style/stigmas) make the picture unbalanced while the flower shapes are not striking enough to overrule the distractions and hold our attention.

I’d love to be able to look at this picture and think ‘nice flower’ as I did in real life. Instead, my mind tries to find a pleasing relationship between the shapes and wonders what the shape reminds me of. A flower in a gas mask, perhaps?

Shared for this week’s 2020 Photo Challenge.

14 Replies to “Photo Challenge: Focus on Shapes”

  1. I love how you take the time to analyse your photographs and the rhododendron is indeed a very nice flower. I actually think the leaves are interesting shapes too and maybe NOT cropping in so tight would have resulted in a more balanced image. Or not? Like you, I struggled to find many images that are simply focused on the shape of the subject. But now I sort of understand what it is I am looking for I shall be more aware in the future. I hope. Thanks for sharing these photos and for your thoughts. The house and the beds are excellent and I am now thinking about the knot gardens I have photographed that really did rely on their shape, but which really only come into their own when viewed from above.

    1. I took another look at the original picture and there is a little more, but it was an ungainly plant and sparsely covered. One of those moments where you know you tried your best, but time passing gives the illusion that if a magic wand could take you back, you could do better.

  2. Funnily enough, I think the photo of the lampshades is the one that most fits the brief. It’s a striking, and largely two dimensional image. I also like the domed glass ceiling. It was a tricky challenge, wasn’t it?

    1. It was. I was concerned that the lampshades looked 3D, but a peculiarity of a picture is that it helps flatten things. The lines are interesting on that one too.

  3. Thank you first of all for the laugh and second for saying it exactly right: yes, a flower in a gas mask! Shape and form are awfully hard to separate, it seems to me. However, giving thought to such abstracts is good — I would otherwise take them for granted. Challenge indeed!

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