Long Live the Rectangle


[The golden ratio is] that proportion which, as a standard proportion, underlies the arrangement of the human form, the construction of the more beautiful animals, the construction of plants, namely in the form of their leaf-arrangement, the forms of various crystals, the arrangement of the planets, the proportions of architectural and sculptural works recognized as being the most beautiful, the most satisfying chords in musical harmony, as well as many other things in nature and art.
Adolf ZeisingDas Normalverhältniss der chemischen und morphologischen Proportionen, 1856

Depending on who you ask, the golden ratio is either the symbol of beauty or a figment of your imagination. The golden ratio, which is about 1.62, is defined based on the ratios of two sides of a rectangle. It has been given almost magical properties; yet we also find other rectangles pleasing.  For example, 8×10 is the standard print size, and the ratio of the two sides, 1.25,  is nowhere near the golden ratio. Similarly, 4×6, 5×7, and 11×14 prints do not match the golden ratio. Finally, digital cameras typically use a 4:3 or 1.33 ratio, which also does not match the golden ratio. Yet, photography can be beautiful. Beauty is what is in the rectangle, not the ratio of the two sides. There you have it, give up the golden ratio, and enjoy the rectangle.


About Mark Mizen

I have over twenty years professional experience in all aspects of photography and digital imaging. I am Chair of the ISO WG5 TG2 committee responsible for physical properties and durability of imaging material and am currently with HID Global working on systems for security printing for IDs, licenses, and credit cards. Previously, I was Director of Digital Development at Creative Memories from 2009 to 2012 and was responsible for the Creative Memories digital products and services. I also established and directed the Creative Memories Technology Center, which evaluated new products prior to product introduction, assisted with production difficulties, and provided technical information to support product sales.
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1 Response to Long Live the Rectangle

  1. Pingback: The Best Rectangle Is a Square | All About Images Blog

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