Actually, I think that ‘Perceptual Balance’ would be a more accurate description.

So, technically the answer to my question would be No, there’s no such thing as conceptual balance ….

I’m referring to the idea that as we view an image, we are perceiving an element of balance that is obvious, but not visually present, hence: Perceptual Balance!

Do you see it in the image below??

Our discussion on balance continues with this excellent illustration of Balance created by John Roberts (see his previous contributions here).

This image is another fascinating collection of a variety of elements that balance each other beautifully… first, here are John’s thoughts on his photograph:

The perspective forms a truncated pyramid and nothing says ‘balance’ like a pyramid. The large area of darkness at the bottom is balanced by the more ‘eye catching’ light at the top. And although you can’t see the motion, you know one set of moving steps is going up while the other is coming down, creating equal weight on either side of the stationary stairs. What other elements do you see?


Conceptual (Perceptual) Balance is the name I’ve given to the idea that John mentions when he says ‘you know one set of moving steps is going up while the other is coming down’. 

So brilliant, John! It’s the concept of the escalator going up & down that we are balancing unconsciously, and it is, of course, our subconscious mind that is the first to decide whether or not we will find a composition interesting enough to spend more time investigating the image.

That concept is the unseen ‘gesture’ that gives us a reason to look more deeply & with more interest into the finer details …. and those details support the visual statement of balance, in every aspect of this image.

This shot is an outstanding example of symmetrical or formal balance. The visual ‘weight’ in the image is equally distributed on both sides of the central point in almost mirror-like repetition, creating a feeling of security and a sense of  solidity that clearly delivers the message.

Some of the other forms of balance that have been noted so far in this image are:

  •  lighter window areas balancing the darker escalator & it’s triangular shape balances & supports the pyramind shape
  • balance of textures, rough/smooth & dull/shiny
  • repetition & balance throughout the image of squares & angles, large & small, long & short.

So c’mon now folks! There MUST be some other elements of balance we’ve missed in this shot & I know you can see them… so what are they?

Do you have some shots of your own that might illustrate ‘Conceptual or Perceptual Balance’? If so, send them along to or leave a comment & a link to your shot….

Any thoughts on Balance? Anything we’ve missed over the last few weeks? Every time I think we’ve covered them all… UP pops another one … :-)…!!

1 Comment on “Is there such a thing as ‘Conceptual Balance’?

  1. Pingback: Have you thought about Geometric Balance? | My Prairie Photolog

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