Thursday, May 20, 2010

Another Thought on Triangles – Composition and the Sandwich Rule According to the Sporkful

As a student of photography and a student of life, after just posting my last introductory post on triangles in photography (Triangles in Photography – Abu Dhabi Corniche), I came across an interesting connection to food.  In the realm of photography, we are aware of the relationship of triangles, the rule of thirds, the golden rule of thirds, the golden triangle rule, etc.  All of these have “3” as a common concept (three points and sides to a triangle for instance).  My discovery, and motivation for this post is the sandwich.
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As a point of context, I am a podcast addict.  My full time job requires me to travel…a lot….over 50 percent of my life is spent away from home and outside the U.S.  I rely on podcasts for news, entertainment, and connection to what is going on at home as well as furthering my knowledge of things for which I am passionate (such as photography).  One of the podcasts on my playlist is the Sporkfull.  The hosts of this engaging podcast deconstruct the consumption of food to a level of detail that is highly entertaining and oddly familiar.  For example, where in the construction of a hamburger is the best place to position the cheese?  This is something you may have considered in an odd moment of lapse in conversation between hamburger bites, but not necessarily considered with full academic rigor.  These guys take it to a crazy, and thoroughly fun level of analysis.
So here is my connection to the good guys at Sporkfull.  The episode I just enjoyed focused a large segment on how to cut a sandwich.  Growing up in Michigan, I was accustomed to the perpendicular cut.  Only after meeting and marrying my wonderful bride did I learn the joys of a diagonally cut sandwich (two triangles!).  After being presented with this alternative, I was completely sold…why?…I have no clue.  So the Sporkfull episode continued into the delicious debate of square cut vs. diagonal cut to help me understand.  The argument for diagonal cut clearly won the day.
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I will admit there is little connection to the use of triangles in photographic composition and how you cut your sandwich, but I was instantly drawn to the potential of an even tenuous relationship.  My attraction to the connection lies in our apparently natural psychological and perceptual attraction to thirds and triangles.  I don’t claim to understand it, but promise to continue my pursuit of understanding this phenomenon.  I also promise to report back on my findings as I continue to discover.
While rambling about sandwiches and triangles, I thought it might be a good idea to include a few more photographs demonstrating the way the idea of concepts adds to photographic composition.
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So the real question that must follow from this discussion, is “what does it mean when you cut your hamburger in half?”  I’m sure that Dan Pashman and Mark Garrison at the Sporkful have the answer!  If you enjoy food, you will enjoy their podcast.
Have fun, and go make some great photography!

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