a photo study: rhythm I

Rhythm, a vital element within music, dance, and poetry, is also important in photography. Ted Forbes writes that visual pulses are within all visual compositions.


Repetition is easy to find…all around us are shapes that are pretty basic and similar to each other. We will see them repeating at regular intervals within nature, design, works of art, architecture, and photography.


Standard rhythm involves the same or similar elements repeating at regular intervals — think of equally spaced light posts extending from left to right across the frame, the slats of a crib, or a series of windows on the side of a city apartment building. These patterns can be thought of as a subset of rhythm in that patterns always have rhythm, but rhythm doesn’t always have patterns.


Rhythm affects the quality of our viewing experience and helps draw and keep the observer’s eye within the frame. Visual rhythm is often most powerfully used as a vehicle for or backdrop to your central story or primary subject.


After a week of studying rhythm, I’m finding a need to stay with this topic as the extension of rhythm within sound and physical sensations to a visual format is like…hmm…sitting in an introduction to physics class. Well, maybe not exactly like a physics class…maybe more like an introduction to “imaginary numbers.”


In the meanwhile, I’ve concluded this week’s photo study blog with a Ted Forbes’ video rhythm in visual composition.   I would enjoy hearing your thoughts and understanding about rhythm as well as seeing some of your creative use of repeating patterns.


    1. Thank you. It is indeed interesting…soundless rhythm. It is all new to me…am finding that learning is an ongoing journey filled with moments of awe and confusion.

      1. I took some photos today besides the cold weather but unfortunatley there is nothing with rhythm. I managed a shot with a so-called frame 🙂

  1. Good to learn rhythm in photo. Same or similar elements repeating at regular intervals– so different from motion. Thank you for the lesson, Brenda!

    1. Thank you for taking the time to visit. I am finding rhythm to be both easy and difficult to comprehend…”tone deaf”, possibly. 🤪

  2. I finally sat down and watched Ted Forbes’ video on rhythm. I was surprised on what it comprises. The photo of Twiggy with all that hair–that’s rhythm. I would not have thought. I was thinking more along the lines of repetition…which, I am sure, is a totally different lesson. I just need to remember all of this when I venture out with my camera.

    1. I am finding that visual rhythm is a bit complicated. I ask myself if Twiggy’s hair shows us rhythm that repeats with similarity (hair strands), but variety of form/shapes (waves/curls). But…this may be way wrong. I have seen examples of rhythm created by repeating shapes that differ.

    1. Welcome! Thank you for taking the time to hop on over from Helens and posting your positive words. This personal photo study challenge is…yes, a challenge, especially rhythm as a composition tool.

    1. Thank you. Taking on a project is self learning is a challenge so thank you for your supportive feedback ☺️

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