The Magic Frame

The Magic Rectangle
The Magic Rectangle

One of the most interesting things that I read about composition, is that a photograph is just a rectangular frame with a bunch of elements places in the frame.

In it’s essence, that is what it is.

Within this frame, however, you have an almost infinite level of possibilities to place the various elements that make up a photograph. You can arrange them in a jumble, with everything crowding and screaming for attention. You can have a central element placed in the photograph, in a manner that brings attention to itself. This could be counterposed by another element, or group of elements. Or, it could be a solitary element.

The elements can be arranged in a manner that suggests flow, or dynamism, or peace, or violence, or anything you want. The photographs can be sharp,  or deliberately blurred.

You can have frontal lighting, side lighting, back lighting, flash lighting, studio lighting or whatever. You can photograph in the desert, or rain, or sunshine.

While photographers talk of the golden hour, the rule of thirds etc, you can break these rules, and this is what makes photography interesting.

You choose how you want to photograph, or not. Sometimes, a slight tilt can change everything.

Nullah. The First
Nullah. The First


Nullah. the second
Nullah. the second

I was in Panipat, when I took these photographs of the nullah that you see in these photographs. I took them within seconds of each other, and processed them in the same manner, using the same filter. There was nothing especial that I did to reveal, or hide, the elements in the photo.

All that I did was to tilt the camera up slightly in the photo that is on the left, and tilt it down when I took the photo on the right.

They are both the same dirty nullah that runs from the tomb of the old Indian Emperor, Ibrahim Lodi ( the last of the Lodi Dynasty) to the temple that was said to have been set up two hundred years later.

In the picture on the left, you have more light, and you can see the muck that is thrown into the nullah.

In the picture on the right, you would need to strain to see the muck in the shadows, and the effect ( I think ) is a wee bit more mysterious.

As a photographer, I chose to have a completely different look and feel in the two photos. They are not great photos, I think, but they serve to illustrate the point.

It is what you choose to bring to the table, as a photographer, and how you continuously develop your vision that will set you apart.


Photography is magical indeed.

All that it is needed, is for you to figure out how to fill that magical frame.



  1. I agree Rajiv sometimes we need to break the rules when it comes to taking shots and its when its best capturing moments and making each photograph more interesting. Great photos! Love the contrast. Welcome back by the way, I haven’t seen you for awhile and its good to have you back. 🙂

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