#Good Challenge: Squares

"The square is not a subconscious form. It is the creation of intuitive reason. The face of the new art. The square is a living, regal infant. The first step of pure creation in art." - Kazimir Malevich

For this week’s challenge, we encourage you to utilise the square (or rectangle) shape in your photography. Analyse and observe how squares affect your audience’s perception and emotions.

Squares are one of the shapes that are very common in our world. You see straight angles everywhere, from large buildings to something as small as a picture frame. They provide a physical framework, and they influence how we see the world around us [source].

"Titahi Bay Boat Sheds" by Trish Brennan

Squares and rectangles are appealing to most because they are simple, solid, and stable. For art, squares express a sense of security, balance, and symmetry [source]. Firm angles signify strength and dependability. This uncomplicated shape holds much visual weight as well. The way squares connect and interact with their background & other objects in the frame show the observer how it compares to these objects and how commanding their presence is.

"The Undertakers" by Ann Kilpatrick

Here are ways to include shapes with straight angles in your photos:

  • Adding squares/rectangles of different sizes in a photo can convey a sense of distance or perspective.

  • Squares are also useful for isolating differing components in a frame. If your subjects' arrangement looks cluttered, placing them in squares makes the composition look neat. (We take this principle off of how we use a square box to tidy up our environment.)

  • Stacking together square-shaped objects (boxes) creates a model of order and stability.

  • A square’s lines and angles make for the perfect natural framing for a photo’s scene. Squares are ideal for adding layers of emotion and aesthetics to photography.

  • Take a photo with many squares (sequence of windows) but include something in the frame that disrupts the pattern to capture your audience’s attention and add depth to the photo.

"Window of Dreams" by Sara Petercokeleyson Photography

Understanding the shapes with straight angles and how to use them in your photography will help make your work capture your viewers’ attention emotionally and in a meaningful and unique way.

Have you taken photos with squares? Share your work with us in the Challenges forum.

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