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Make Art And Restore Balance In Life

Posted by Jacob Hawthorne on

I photographed this temple entrance on the beautiful island of Bali.

Bali is a favorite holiday destination for Australians, many of whom return again and again. My visit was at the end of a tough 9-week photography trip to Asia which included Thailand, China and India.

I became very ill in India and, while I’d made a lot of photos there with which I was really happy, it was important to me to end the trip on a positive note.

Balance And Healing On The Island Of The Gods

As soon as I was well enough to fly I made my way to Bangkok for a few days rest as well as a regime of extensive examination and treatment at an excellent hospital.

Once I was confident I was on the road to recovery I headed onto Ubud, in the Balinese interior, with the aim of renewing body and mind, prior to heading back home to Australia.

It was a good plan. I recovered my health and energy quicker than expected and even managed a few days of local travel and photography before my flight home.

I must say I was particularly well looked after by the great staff at Kajane Mua in Bali, where I stayed.

It’s ironic that it took me so long to get to Bali and it’s only because I was so ill that I choose to seek balance and renewal in the Islands Of The Gods.

It was the right decision and a great way to finish the journey. I can’t wait till I return.

The above photo is a very straightforward image of a temple entrance within a larger outdoor complex.

While it illustrates Bali’s unique version of Hinduism, through the statues and plaques depicted, it’s really a study in composition.

Just look at how the color, shapes and structures are so well balanced. The architecture is artfully designed around the notion of balance and my photo simply reflects that fact.


An ornate, c olorful door marks the entrance to a Hindu temple in rural Bali, Indonesia .

An ornate, colorful door marks the entrance to a Hindu temple in rural Bali, Indonesia.

Pay Attention To Color When You Make Color Photos

It’s interesting how the concept of balance can be brought into an image.

You’ll notice the yellow, orange and red hues throughout the main photos in this post. With no cool colors present these images can be described as having an harmonious color palette.

It’s this lack of contrasting (i.e., warm and cool) colors that works to quieten the image and produce a relatively restful result.

And that's despite the fact that red and yellow are considered to be fairly dynamic colors.

Compose Your Photos Around Color

My tip, when it comes to color photography, is to seek out color and consider how best to use it in your photos.

This is important when dealing with color in any of the following forms:

  • Harmonious color
  • Contrasting color
  • Highly saturated color
  • Pastel color rendition

If color is not an important aspect of your composition your photo is unlikely to be a successful color image. It’s really that simple.

Desk, Kajane Mua Hotel, Bali


The Beauty Of Balance And Symmetry In Great Photos

Can you see how carefully designed this structure is? Look at the almost mirror-like effect when comparing elements from either side of the photo.

The stone statues, the plaques on the wall and the ornate decorations on the door are all perfectly balanced and symmetrical in design.

No doubt this very deliberate design aspect is there to provide the impression of harmony.

To remain true to this concept I employed a tripod for absolute control over composition and, thereby, ensured that overall balance and symmetry was maintained.


An arrangement of colorful barrels , stacked by the side of the road in Ubud, Bali make for a vivid, symmetrical and well balanced composition .

An arrangement of colorful barrels, stacked by the side of the road in Ubud, Bali make for a vivid, symmetrical and well balanced composition.

How To Uncover The Artist Behind The Camera

It’s always great to be out and about photographing. Most of us respond intuitively to what we see. We’re drawn to photograph something without actually thinking about it at anything other than a basic level.

One of the key differences that an artist brings to the table is their ability to consider the world about them at a deeper level.

In particular the artist asks the question why?

“Art is not so much about providing answers as it is about asking questions.”

— Glenn Guy - Travel Photography Guru

The role of the documentary artist is not to judge, but to discover, examine and report what they see to a greater community.

Ultimately, any inherent truth revealed in the art is for the individual viewer to determine.

The artist’s views and personal beliefs certainly matter. But the success and relevance of their work, together with any meaning derived, is determined by others.

So it has always been, and so shall it continue to be. 

If you want to tap into your own artistic nature you should begin to ask why, more often.

Your Guide To The Creative Life

I can absolutely recommend a holiday in Bali.

If, like me, you’re more interested in landscape and culture you’d be wise avoiding the hedonistic tourism mecca of Kuta.

Instead consider heading up to Ubud, a lovely town in the uplands of Bali. It’s a truly lovely location to soothe the mind and pamper the body. And what better way to restore balance in your life.

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