Day 2: Rule of thirds

Dear Mr Alien,

did you miss me? I would miss me if I was you. Hope all is well with your intergalactic travels and you have not encountered any black holes or turbulent asteroid showers. So day 2 of photo challenge required that we go out and shoot a photo that obeys the much vaunted (but not set in concrete) Rule of Thirds. This is where you divide your camera screen into 9 parts and then position your subject(s) of interest on the intersecting lines in order to create a more visually appealing effect. Easy right? Wrong! Sometimes the subject does not allow for this or placing the subject smack bang in the middle of said photo actually creates the magic. The rule of thirds is not a law, like for instance never using the word bae in real life conversation or wearing white socks with a black pants, but rather a guideline, to be used when appropriate and to be broken when it does not serve you.

This particular image was taken of the iconic beach houses situated in my local hood of Muizenberg (more about this eclectic seaside village in another post), these cute colourful houses have been photographed ad nauseam so I usually avoid them. But yesterday evening I was short on time and the sunset promised to be spectacular. It was not. Although I still like the boldness of the overall photo, it ensures that the houses are the focal point and nothing else.

Back to rules, if you have not yet gleaned Mr Alien rules are practices that we as humans abide by, for many different reasons. Some are so we will be socially accepted, others are so that we can make a living, while others are simply there to ensure that chaos does not reign supreme, the last one tickles my anarchistic tendencies though. Most of the time we do not really want to follow these “rules” but rather do only because they have been issued under threats, these threats usually start early in our lifetimes, usually right after we can feed ourselves we start stuffing things into our mouths, as this is how we make sense of things when we are that age, but then comes along mom or dad with the dreaded rules like “you can’t put that in your mouth”, “the dog is not there for piggybacks”, “eating your boogers will turn you into a snot monster” and so on and so on.

And these “rules” just start piling up  the older you get, it never ends. I hear you asking “So if you do not like rules, why follow them?” Great question there Mr Alien, why indeed. Besides the threat of bodily harm or deprivation of things that make us happy (when we are kids)  and then the threat of getting locked up and ostracised by polite society we follow normally because everybody else is following and we do not want to buck the trend. Point in case is the concept of “herd mentality” ( describes how people are influenced by their peers to adopt certain behaviours)  and this can be witnessed in any scenarios where groups of people congregate.

In older civilisations those who did not fit in were sent to live on their own where they would most likely die from exposure or hunger if they could not fend for themselves.  So it made sense to stick to the rules and follow the pack but in our modern world where our every whim or need is satisfied with a click of a mouse we do not have to labour under the protection of the tribe. However  civilised as progressive we deem ourselves to be , we as human beings still obey our most atavistic tendencies, we are social creatures, we do want to be accepted by our peers and society as a whole but most of all we want to be ourselves, living our lives under our own set of rules, not the ones mandated to us by government, society, mainstream media or social media.

Mr Alien I may have rambled a bit in this post and that is fine, I do not acknowledge rules, but the crux of the matter is that we as humans allow our lives and destinies to be shaped by flimsy, institutionalised, archaic forms of rules, some forced upon us others we force upon ourselves. As much as I would like to think I live my life by no rules that would be the highest form of pseudo-exceptionalism (believing that you are better than others without any real evidence to support the belief) but I am at least conscious of this and do try to take what serves me and just dump the rest. Yes I look twice when crossing the road, yes I pick up my dog’s poop on the beach and yes I adhere to all the water restrictions, so rules have their place in society but try not to judge others who don’t follow the same rules as you.

I will leave you Mr Alien with these words, please pass it onto your fellow space dwellers.

Let our spirits not be subjugated by what is deemed “socially acceptable”, let our souls fly free of the chains of conformity but most of all let your life be one of your own making.

Always watching the stars,


Beach Houses at Muizenberg

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