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noun: tension
  1. the state of being stretched tight.
  2. mental or emotional strain.
    • a strained political or social state or relationship.
    • a relationship between ideas or qualities with conflicting demands or implications.
      “the basic tension between freedom and control”


Thus sayeth The Google.


Normally tension is considered undesirable. This isn’t necessarily so in photographs; in fact, often the opposite is true: tension adds to the visual appeal. It makes us look, and contemplate – that gift of frozen moment.


I was going over images I took in studio years ago of Christina, who has this wonderful costume collection, including a pair of “wings”. As we were going through various poses, she came to rest on the floor, spreading and unfolding them around her. An impromptu move (she is great at that), produced a favorite photograph.




What makes it for me is its imperfection. The symmetry of the far half against the fold in the near; it brings a tension to the image which adds interest. To my way of thinking it being black and white adds to this feeling (I think B&W provides an inherent tension to an image; it’s subtle, but it’s there).


The imperfection that makes it – perfect.


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