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It could be argued that composition is the single most important element in photography. The way the photographer frames the subjects being photographed within the format of the viewfinder is a fundamental aspect of the final image. The traditional rectangle frames the bulk of captured images. It is difficult to imagine any other shape for television, cinema and computer screens. The artist Piet Mondrian explored the nature of the rectangle and its dominance in terms of composition. Interestingly, the image enters the lens as a circle but the camera converts it to a rectangle. Steven Pippin’s use of washing machines as cameras resulted in circular images that broke this convention. Photographer Doug Aitken also explores alternative formats.

Film-based photography

Digital photography

Film and video

Piet Mondrian

Steven Pippin

Doug Aitken