Previous posts (1, 2) explain the concept of the Rule of Thirds and the Golden Ratio. Some previous answers state that the Rule of Thirds is the Golden Ratio, but that is not true. The two are different. The golden ratio is related to the Fibonacci numbers, and is an irrational number whose value is approximately 1.618...
My questions remains — why is it that as photographers and artists, we take great care in utilising rules with the goal of drawing the viewer into an image, however, for those viewers who are not able to recognise the efforts we put in, dismiss our effort as a fallacy? yet the golden ratio has been used for hundreds of years if not thousands but still does not always have the intended affect of drawing the viewer in.
Is there a mathematical way that this can be quantified?
Having studied Renaissance art in school and having a fairly good working understanding of the rule of thirds and the golden ratio in photography, without ever questioning, I have been applying these rules to my portraits and travel photography for many years, but was that the right thing to do?
As it stands, I am not interested in understanding what these rules are, as I already know.
What I am interested in: do they really alter the perception of the general viewer? or do we as photographers have become so accustom to them, that any image not applying these rules, becomes an image that is just not quite right! I appreciate that there are times when these rules can be broken, but to keep focus on the topic, let's just ignore that for now.
Recently, having visited a few art/photography galleries in London, speaking to individuals, I found that fellow photographers and art critiques were discussing composition and how they felt the golden ratio and the rule of thirds was applied. Whereas, for those visitors not familiar with any of these rules, understandably, not only did they not discuss any of these rules, but they also happened to be drawn to images that were perhaps those that least applied any of the rules.
In other words, these rules did not seem to have the desired effect on their perception of being drawn into the image.
Once explained on how the power points within the image were being utilised and how these rules were ensuring that the viewer was consistently drawn back from the edges and towards the subject, they understood the concept, some appreciated it, but not all agreed on the physicality of it, as they felt that they were not being drawn in.
Despite the attempts of several experts, many viewers were not convinced and therefore, no real practical conclusion reached. The outcome was 50/50.
To conclude, are these rules something only artists and photographers understand, appreciate, able to see, discuss and judge and as a result, are automatically drawn to such images, whereas, someone with no knowledge of these rules, will not necessarily be attracted to such images?
Can we mathematically provide an answer for those who require solvable logic to better understand this concept of the rule of thirds and the concept of the Golden Ratio?