Composition and Photographing Statues

Stunning relief on an outside wall of the magnificent St. Isaac's Cathedral in St. Petersburg, Russia.

St. Isaacs Cathedral in St. Petersburg Russia is spectacular. I spent several hours photographing the exterior of the building, concentrating particularly on the range of highly detailed sculptures around the buildings outer walls.

Circles and Triangles in Art

I often make mention of the importance of and relationship between circles and triangles in people based photography. Needless to say that heads and faces are of a circular shape and their placement within the frame, to form triangles, is a recurring theme in a great deal of art over the centuries.

Those triangles are then referenced and further emphasized through the use of diagonal lines throughout the image. In this case you’ll notice the V shape of Jesus’s right arm. That shape is made up of two diagonal lines intersecting with each other. The woman on the right of the frame (Mary M. I guess) has the same V shape occurring, this time with her left arm.

Can you see that the cross is also positioned in a double V shape, with one at the top and a much larger one at the bottom.

Sneaky Rectangles

What about the ladder you say? I guess it was necessary for the grizzly job to come. But, as far as this particular art work is concerned, I suspect it’s there so as to introduce a new shape, that of the rectangle.

How about the helper on the left side of the frame? Can you see how his outstretched arms and the underside of the cross suggest another triangle.

This image is full of triangles. Why don’t you see if you can spot a few more. Just remember they don’t have to be equilateral triangles, nor do they have to be complete. It’s sometimes enough that they are suggested, as evidenced in the V shape of several of the arms within the image. And guess what? If you look hard enough you might even find a few more circles.

Composition is about so much more that where to put the horizon.

Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru