The Golden Ratio was used by the Greeks beginning around 400 B.C and it is suspected that the Egyptians used the principle to design the pyramids long before that. It is a proportion ratio from length to width of 1 to 1.618. It can be found in growth patterns within plants, sea creatures, the human body, microscopic cells and the entire universe. It is so effective that in addition to the visual arts, it is used in music, in science, in mathematics, and even in industry.
It is an incredible mathematical ratio that in some mysterious way seems to harmonize with the human psyche. The Golden Rectangle is built on this ratio. In fact, this shape is so aesthetically charged that architects and other artisans have depended upon it to design their constructions and painters have relied upon it for their image placement ever since it was discovered.
Volumes have been written about the Golden Ratio. But what is important for us to understand is how we can use it in placing our images. Artists over the centuries have discovered that placing according to two principles--rabatment and rule of thirds--can give a close approximation to the same aesthetic balance achieved when using the Golden Ratio.
I am exploring these two methods in our new series of video tutorials, Selecting & Placing. Lesson one shows how to use rabatment, lesson 2 shows aligning images with the intersections of rule of thirds, lesson 3 uses rabatment for helping clear clutter and lesson four aligns with the verticals and horizontals of rule of thirds for finding hidden compositions. Rather than follow these as rules, I prefer using them as tools for expanding our creative choices.