In Inspiration
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My life is currently unfolding to the beat of a very specific rhythm revolving around work and family. Walking to work as I always do, along the same road at the same time of day, I got to thinking about the beat of the music I was listening to, and whether the very dynamic concept of rhythm could translate to the static medium of photography.

A quick google search on rhythm in photography threw up this article on the Clickin Moms blog. They distinguish between four types of rhythm: repetition, alternation, progression and undulation. Common to all four is something that repeats, whether similar or alternating elements, in progression or undulating.

I have struggled to translate this to my own photography.

What I have learned, first of all, is that repetition in itself does not equal rhythm. The shape of the windows repeats in the below image, but if there is rhythm here I don’t see it. Rather, this seems to me a static view, a frozen moment of observation from inside.

No, it has become clear to me – and Clickin Moms make this point implicitly but doesn’t state it outright – that the repetition needs to go somewhere. Bryan Peterson, in his wonderful book Learning to See Creatively, lists six elements of design: line, shape, form, texture, pattern and colour. In terms of these elements, rhythm requires both pattern and line. This makes sense in terms of music; repeating sounds without a purpose can hardly be called a rhythm.

Clickin Moms furthermore suggest that rhythm can and should be disrupted, and that rhythm can be used as a backdrop against which a disrupting element can be placed to great effect. I have realised I prefer a different metaphor: my advice is not to disrupt the rhythm but add to it. Include vocals, different instrumental lines; add that elusive something it takes to make a rhythm into a melody, a pleasing pattern into a story.

~ Jenny Graver.


  1. these images are wonderful and your thoughtfulness in taking them is apparent. fantastic and it’s got my thinking…

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