Visual Rhythm

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From The Fundamentals of Visual Perception to the Principles of Visual Design 

      110 Pages of Images, Inspiration and Motivation

"With a Masters of Fine Art in Photography from the Rochester Institute of Technology and as a past instructor at the Art Institute of Chicago and the Nikon School of Photography, I can say that Visual Rhythm has it all. If this book was available for my classes I would have used it as my course textbook.” Marc Miller


            The Beat Goes On  

Whatever we see is constantly pulsating and emitting quantifiable energy. When refined and illustrated in a visual art form, that energy will elicit a heightened emotional response in the mind of a viewer. That refined and illustrated energy is what I call visual rhythm. 

Visual rhythm is the “secret sauce” that makes a communicative and compelling photograph - one that resonates in a viewer’s mind. 

The photographer consciously or intuitively uses prime visual elements (PVEs); line, form, texture and colour/tone to create visual rhythm.

Visual rhythm is the principal and foremost pursuit of visual artists -  photographers like you and me.

Seek visual rhythm in your art and you will surely evolve to a higher level of creativity and expression.

                  Sample pages:


Example: dominant PVE: Form. Sub-dominant PVE: Colour.

Let’s consider some subconscious subtleties concerning the following: 

Light - the quality and direction. One can tell that the light source is coming from the right. In terms of light quality, the segue from highlight to shadow on the hand and egg is gradual, indicating a diffused light source. Had the source been direct (un-diffused), the transition would be harsh and in this case, unattractive. The soft diffused light quality adds to the illusion of roundness and volume, creating the dominant element: Form. 

Depth-of-Field (DOF) - Note the shallow DOF separating the hand and egg from the repeatig-similar-forms (ie pattern) of the background. A very subtle relationship of forgtound to background. Shallow DOF isolates the subject from a busy background. Conversely, more DOF tends to integrate foreground and background. 

Example: dominant PVE: Colour; Sub-dominant PVE: Line

Here’s blue and yellow playing off each other, because they’re opposites on the colour wheel. Getting close with a wide-angle lens enhances the size and perspective. In my opinion, this is an example of illustrating an everyday object in an extraordinary way.

If you’re in the mood to step away from the literal, use the Photoshop cutout filter and, in this case, convert the result to B&W. Note the faux frame border. 

Here’s how to make that border: In Photoshop>select>all. Then go to image>canvas size (check relative size box and the centre of the anchor box) and enter the same height and width amount in inches, cm or pixels- experiment. Then choose white (or whatever) in the “canvas extension colour” box. You’ll then see your created border. Select>all again then select>modify (choose a pixel amount and make sure it doesn’t overwrite the white border). Then go to edit>fill>foreground colour (black, which is normally the default colour or choose whatever colour). Check your results (you may have to reset the pixel amount). Deselect all if the border looks similar to the above.




 Did you ever let your imagination free-fall and end up with an unexpected gift?  Full story, “On Producing a TIME Magazine Cover:”

When I was four years old (some refer it as the olden days) I remember wondering about the family radio; where did the sound come from? So one day I decided to seek a scientific explanation. I deftly pried off the back of the radio and was immediately awestruck by the red, purple and orange glow of the vacuum tubes. Those glowing tubes took me on my first “imagination trip.” They looked like surreal cities of the future. I will never forget that feeling. It led me towards the gates of creativity. So much so that I recently revisited my memory of  the glowing city and digitally created RADIO CITY. Your imagination will almost always lead you to the gates of creativity.

Tech specs: This is a five-element composite in Photoshop, utilizing layers. The foreground is from Death Valley. The vacuum tubes are from a MacIntosh amplifier. The mountains are sand dunes with a hue shift to blue. The full moon was shot in the Australian Outback with a 600mm lens. The sky was created by enlarging the canvas, selected and filled with black. The arc of daylight was accomplished using the gradient tool on the oblique. The stars are little dots created with the brush tool.                           


To order Visual Rhythm or its companion book, Stolen Moments:

Print Editions: $65 Canadian each plus postage

Digital editions: Visual Rhythm and/or Stolen Moments are emailed in a compressed, generic PDF format (no quality loss) for all devices,. Each book when ordered separately: $20 Canadian, $35 Canadian if purchased together.

Payment: in Canada, Interac or PayPal. Outside Canada, PayPal only. Make transaction to: I’ll then send you the file(s) by return email. There is no transaction cost to you.


            Stolen Moments reviews and sample pages

For example: From the US, if purchasing both books for $35 CAD via PayPal,  your pay box should look similar to below:


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