Photoessay: Structured

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As the the title suggests, the images in today’s post were curated by pattern, spatial frequency and something that probably has a formal architectural name that I’m not aware of – but tend to think of as ‘orders of complexity’. We got from rectangles to triangles and tetrahedrals; uniform to recursive; compound straight shapes to arcs and arches and on to organic forms. These forms take on a rhythm and get more complex, but then distill and simplify down into something more focused and massive. In a way, it feels a lot like the thought process behind designing a watch…

This series shot with a Nikon D3500, AF-P 10-20 DX VR, AF-P 18-55 DX VR II, AF-P 70-300 DX VR. SOOC JPEG.

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Ultraprints from this series are available on request here


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Images and content copyright Ming Thein | 2012 onwards unless otherwise stated. All rights reserved


  1. I have to ask, how do you manage to get your verticals so straight SOOC? I normally have to tweak perspective even if no other processing. Or are you shooting from the top of another building of equal height?

  2. Kitty Murray ) says:

    This series of short and focused articles with accompanying images is excellent. I teach photography and media in an Austin, TX middle school. Your concise content quickly illustrates key abstract teaching points that many times is difficult for 2nd and 3rd year photography students. Unfortunately and randomly on Thursday, your site was blocked by the district. Time to make a call downtown.
    Lastly, students are starting to “get” after a test and some practice, “The 4 Four Things.”

    Thank you for your expertise and relentless pursuit educating the masses.

    • Thanks – no idea why I might be blocked though, it’s hosted directly on the WordPress servers and photography isn’t exactly contentious 🙂

      • Kitty Murray says:

        It’s certainly not the content. Their blockers are way off base. A video series featuring an 11 year old teaching students how to switch heads in photoshop elements was also blocked. I have heard that they want a list of sites submitted before we use them. Pretty unrealistic when surfing for great ideas and would like to implement those sites immediately. I actually wrote photography content for the district last year and some of the websites included in those lessons aren’t available either. It’s beginning to look like the movie BRAZIL.

  3. Kristian Wannebo says:

    Strong Photos, Ming!

    But I didn’t arrive there at once.
    At first #3, 7 & 10 were easy favourites.

    Then I looked closer and the others started to grow.

    #1 bothered me a bit, I began looking for an off center open window to balance all that repetition, and finally found one plus one a little different at the left edge – and suddenly another really open one would have been wrong!

    In the photos with repetions those began to emphasize the other parts and vice-versa, in the symmetrical photos slight deviations from symmetry emphasized the symmetries, and everywhere unexpected details gave more life…

    And now I find it difficult to find favourites.
    🙂 , 🙂 !

  4. Andrew Franta says:

    Wonderful images. The black and white tonality is amazing!

  5. Michael Fleischer says:

    Amazing how you can open our eyes to a fascinating world of light, contrast, structure and leading lines –
    and this is not even one my preferred subjects! 😉

  6. Extraordinary! In the proper hands the D3500 can make everything else look superfluous.

  7. jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

    Incredibly powerful images!

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