Compositional Devices: Phi, The Rule of Thirds, The Golden Ratio/Section/Rule.

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BESS' ART JOURNAL: Through the eyes of an artist

Phi Principles1

This week’s photo challenge is really beginning to bug me. Not least because the rule wasn’t really explained correctly in the challenge post. The way that the Rule of Thirds has been explained as an artistic principle, traditionally, is that one has to imagine a grid of nine squares dividing an image, with each line representing a potential guide along or within which to place a subject or element of a composition. It places compositional elements just off-centre, approximately, which is meant to be more pleasing to the eye, and thus creating a more successful composition. However, The Rule of Thirds is a misnomer, because it is loosely based upon the principle of the Golden Ratio, or as it is known mathematically ‘Phi’. One might be correct in thinking that it involves dividing the frame into three, either from left to right, right to left, or top to bottom, bottom…

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