When I see beautiful vignettes, like Steven Gambrel's below, my analytical (and slightly design-obsessed) brain kicks into overdrive.
Which is probably why Steve from An Urban Cottage invited me to to partake in a kind of dual post. He knows I geek out on stuff like this.
Separately, we're posting what we see in this particular image: A Room with Two Views.
My View on this Room
I think there's a reason why round mirrors, particularly the convex variety, are so pleasing to the eye. They're really like a kind of bullseye drawing your attention to them, don't you think?
There's something quite beautiful about a rectangular shape topped with a circular form. Think of the familiarity of the human head above square-ish shoulders, a round moon rising above the line of a horizon. This vignette automatically works well because the beautiful pairing of the round mirror above the rectangular table. It instantly anchors the scene.
(I've included copies of this image several times so you don't need to scroll up to see it again.)
The next thing I notice is texture, particularly contrasts in texture. I see the gleaming glassiness of the mirror; the smooth, cold of the marble tabletop; the the rough, primitive quality of the leaning basket; the chalkiness of the white bowl, with the organic feathery, quality of what I take to be coral.
Then there is repetition. Lots of it. Repetition of black, white, grey, the natural textures of the basket and rope, the gleaming elements from the gilding on the picture frame to the nailheads(?) on the black tray to the mirror.
Repetition also comes in the form of shape. If I were still teaching elementary school, I would ask you how many rectangles you can find.
For me, the most interesting part of this vignette for me is the repetition of the U-shape. Note how the U-shaped white bowl in an inversion of the U-shaped lampshade. It creates a particularly interesting kind of balance in this asymmetrical vignette. You can find U-shapes in the cloche and in the lamp base too.
And of course, since I'm so interested in interior photography, I can't help but analyze how this vignette is photographed. One of the first things I noticed when I saw this photo was the tripod in the reflection of the mirror. See how the camera is flipped off to the side to take the photo vertically?
The tripod sits directly in front of the vignette, not off to the side, so it is photographed at a 90 degree angle to the subject. The camera is placed just barely above table height. You can see in the reflection that the camera is about the height of the banister, not at eye level where most folks tend to take pictures. (A low camera is a flattering way to take pictures of a room.) Also notice how there is not a ton of negative space in the photo. The vignette fills almost the entire frame.
Now that you've read my dissertation on the subject, here is a review.
This vignette works because of:
- contrasting texture
- how it is photographed
- and the bones of the room don't hurt either!
Interested as I am to hear what Steve thinks? Click here to get his view on this room.