When you point your camera at a random thing on the street, you usually don’t expect much. But in the vast sea of dull photos that fill your camera roll, one stands out. Call it a miracle, or a lovely surprise, but if you feel like the pic is superior in composition, style, lighting, and somewhat resembles a classical painting, it may be that you have just encountered “accidental renaissance.”
Thanks to the devoted community r/AccidentalRenaissance that seeks the thrill of photography that “accidentally resembles the types of art popular from the 14th-19th centuries,” we now know it’s a thing and not a mere coincidence. Created in 2014, the subreddit now has 748k “universalis personae,” aka members, who like looking for dramatic compositions, complex narratives, sophisticated lightning, and pictorial colors in everyday snaps.
So scroll down to see what the buzz is all about and after you’re done, don’t forget to check part 1 of Accidental Renaissance highlights such as “Pizza Night With The Woofers” and “The Lost Supper.”
To find out more about the r/AccidentalRenaissance subreddit, Bored Panda reached out to its moderator u/openminded_skeptic. He told us that the subreddit was founded based upon a post from August 2014 that featured a picture showing a fight in the Ukrainian Parliament.
“Several people in the post expressed interest in a subreddit featuring photos that accidentally resembled Renaissance art (although the actual photo technically is more along the lines of Baroque art in coloring and lighting, the Golden Ratio spiral superimposed on it notwithstanding), and this subreddit was created.”
Throughout the past 6 years, the community has evolved in several ways. “First, the definition of 'Renaissance' has expanded to cover art styles from the 14th-19th centuries as the sub has risen in popularity,” u/openminded_skeptic explained.
Oranges Photographed Through The Glass Panes Of A Greenhouse
Blinky In The Sun. Our Pupper Passed Away This Morning. I Always Thought This iPhone Photo Of Him Looked Like A Painting
Accidentally Took A Picture Of My Cat That Looks Like An Old Master's Painting
Secondly, the rules have now expanded to more easily enable moderation of what would be considered Renaissance. “It’s in the eye of the beholder,” said the moderator.
And thirdly, “I (u/openminded_skeptic) was added as a moderator as an April Fool's joke in 2018 due to my username being almost identical to the founder's (u/openmindedskeptic), and have more or less overtaken the subreddit.” In 2019, the companion subreddit to r/AccidentalRenaissance called r/Pet_Renaissance was created as “a place for people to post artistic pet photos.”
u/openminded_skeptic explained that for the purposes of r/AccidentalRenaissance, the community allows other genres from the 14th-19th centuries, as well as high-quality or timely popular photos or posts at times at the moderators' discretion.
As for the Renaissance photos, “generally, there's an emphasis on symmetry, balance, saturated colors (although early and high Renaissance used lighter, brighter colors while late Renaissance generally used darker, richer colors, but they were always saturated, not diluted), a focus on linear perspective and leading lines to help create a more 3-D image, balanced composition, and lots of references to classical Greek and Roman art and architecture.”
Even though there are no professional art historians on the moderator team, u/openminded_skeptic assured us that “Some of us have a few art history courses under our belts, as well as an interest and appreciation for fine art and history.”
A Monk In Italy. (Photographer: Steve Mccurry)
He also added that moderating subreddits usually falls to one of three types of people: “those very passionate about the subject of the subreddit and wanting to help keep it relevant (I consider this to be me!), those who just love Reddit in general and want to help keep it going, or those who for one reason or another value a sense of prestige or having authority over others."