The term Dutch angle is a concept used in composition that refers to tilting the camera to place all of your pictorial elements on a diagonal line. Essentially, this design method produces an image that would be akin to tilting your head to one side. The Dutch angle concept became popular in the 80’s and 90’s and slowly died out over the last 15-20 years.
The biggest drawback to using the Dutch angle technique in composition is that you eliminate any chance of visual balance because there aren’t any horizontal or vertical lines to keep your eye contained in the picture. For example, in the photograph below by Gary Winogrand, notice how the image only contains diagonal lines. This lack of vertical and horizontal stability in the design forces the viewer to exit the photo almost immediately.
“A picture should be able to hang from its exact middle. A perfect composition will not cause the viewer to turn his head to a false angle in the picture. Pictures that stand the test of time demand this.” Henry Rankin Poore
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