Monday, 3 August 2009

Lines: Horizontal, Vertical, Diagonal, Curves and Implied

My aim here was to capture subjects that show clear horizontal and vertical lines where the lines are the most prominent aspect of the photograph.

Chest of drawers
ISO-200, 49mm, 1/4s, f/5.6

Table and Chair
ISO-200, 42mm, 1/25s, f/5.6

Side panel of garden shed
ISO-200, 41mm, 1/15s, f/5.6

Section of door from a kitchen cabinet
ISO-400, 27mm, 1/8s, f/5.6

A tree trunk
ISO-400, 55mm, 1/25s, f/5.6

Front door of a house
ISO-400, 35mm, 1/8s, f/5.6

ISO-200, 29mm, 1/6s, f5.6

Door of garden shed
ISO-200, 51mm, 1/40s, f/5.6

Banister railings and their shadows
ISO-400, 25mm, 1/10s, f/5.6

It is quite easy to find horizontal and vertical lines, however, they can be rather difficult to capture, if the viewpoint isn't quite right they can become diagonals and if the focal length is too short they can become curves. Perfect lines are more readily found in man-made structures, although there are plenty to be found in nature. A tree trunk creates a vertical line and the horizon is a natural horizontal line.

Diagonal lines work well to draw the eye of an image’s viewer through the photograph. They create points of interest as they intersect with other lines and often give images depth by suggesting perspective. Diagonal lines are relatively easy to create within a photograph, as they depend mainly on viewpoint. Horizontals and Verticals easily become diagonals if the photographer doesn't have their camera lens perpendicular to a subject. Many people find that viewing a photograph that contains one or more diagonal lines beginning in the lower left corner and ending in the upper right corner can be very pleasing to the eye as a viewer's eye will follow lines most comfortably from left to right.
Wooden Garden Table
55mm, 1/160sec, f/8, ISO-400

For my first photograph I decided to use a garden table as the planks of wood and their grain create very prominent lines. The diagonals guide a viewers eye from the bottom right hand corner towards the parasol on the left hand side of the image. The parasol breaks up the lines and in turn helps to make the photograph more interesting.

Security Fence
35mm, 1/125mm, f/9, ISO-200

When viewing this photograph the eye is drawn across this image from left to right and back again as we can see that the fence is further in the distance on the left hand side. I don't like how I've composed this shot, it feel clumsy and uncomfortable. It feels as though the fence should be leaving the image further into the distance on the right hand side rather than the left. The only point of view available was below the top of the fence and therefore only allowing for this type of composition. If I could have gotten above the subject to shoot down towards it, I would have been able to achieve a much more comfortable composition with the fence entering in the bottom left corner and continuing through the picture, getting further away towards the right hand upper corner.

Block Paving
18mm, 1/160sec, f/8, ISO-400

As the lines of paving pass through the photograph they draw the viewers eye from left to right. The wide focal length, combined with the diagonal lines gives the image a lot of depth. It is also easy to imagine the pattern of the paving continuing outside the boundaries of the frame.

Imperial War Museum Sign
Unfortunately I took this photograph with my film SLR and didn't write down the exposure or the size of the aperture. The film used was ISO-400 and the focal length is 18mm.

I have decided to add this photograph as helps to display how diagonal lines are used outside of photography. The sign itself has a diagonal line crossing through it from right to left, being higher on the right and lower on the left it reinforces the arrow that points to the entrance and helps to lead people towards the building. The pattern of the paving also helps with this as it travels diagonally across the surrounding area straight towards the building. Together, the diagonal paving and the line across the sign point at the entrance making it much clearer to potential customers. Also the sign itself is slightly trapezoid in shape, it's diagonal top and bottom also point towards the entrance; the wide focal length and viewpoint I chose to use whilst taking this shot strongly exaggerate this.

Next I have captured four images of naturally occurring curves. A curved line is dynamic and ever changing. The dynamic qualities of the curved line can be combined with the decorative qualities of the straight line. By using a curved line with a continuous ratio it will become repetitive and therefore decorative; a spiral is such a curved line. Curves, in photographs, give a sense of movement, they can also supply an image with a feeling of smoothness, grace and elegance.

Orchid flower
ISO-200, 55mm, 1/60s, f/5.6

I would say that my first image definitely shows smoothness, grace and elegance, but not so much movement.

Large Leaf
ISO-200, 49mm, 1/80s, f/5.6

My second photograph appears smooth and a viewers eye is drawn from left to right, also giving a slight sense of movement.

Pine Cone
ISO-200, 51mm, 1/13s, f/5.6

If the texture of the subject in this image is ignored and the natural shape of the pine cone is focused upon, there is a small sense of elegance to be felt.

Guitar - Gibson SG
ISO-800, 55mm, 1/2s, f/13

I spotted my guitar hanging on the wall and decided to photograph it for this project. Guitars were originally designed with such dramatic curves for their extremely aesthetic appearance, thus being a perfect subject for a project about curves. The curves of this guitar certainly depict smoothness and elegance. They could also portray movement as sound travels in waves, guitars create sound when played and it is easy to imagine the curved shape continuing in waves beyond the photograph.

Last but not least are implied lines.

- Eye-Line
If within a photograph a person or animal is looking at something, a viewer will instinctively follow their line of site to that subject. Photographers can use a subject's eyes to help paint lines through their pictures, these can guide a viewers in certain directions. This technique can also be used to create a sense of anxiousness if the photographer chooses to capture a person pointing but not what they are are pointing at. The viewer will be left wanting to know what the subject was looking at, it has a similar effect to that of an author's cliffhanger.

Plasticine Shepherd and Sheep
29mm, 1.3sec, f/20, ISO-400

I was experimenting and playing around with some plasticine and marshmallows when I decided to create a small scene to demonstrate eye-line. The Shepherd can be seen looking at his sheep dog and the dog is looking at the sheep. When viewed, a person will follow the eye-line of the Shepherd to the dog and then the dog to the sheep. After taking the shot I decded to replace the sky to make it more interesting as before it was plain blue. Having been a fan of 'Wallace and Gromit' along with other work by Nick Park, for many years, I fancied giving plasticine modeling a try. It takes a lot of time and patience but the results can be very affective.

Friends in a garden
18mm, 1/200sec, f/9, ISO-200

Cropped to improve composition and show best examples of eye-line. At a friends 21st birthday we were out in the garden playing a few games, I took a few shots of everyone in mid-conversations and managed to capture this shot showing three eye-lines in one. With two of the participants looking at each other and a third looking at a bottle, the viewers eye follows the eye-lines through the picture.

-Lines that Point
Photographers can use the surroundings of a subject to guide a viewer's eyes towards it. If within a photograph two or more lines coming from different directions meet then the main focus of a viewer's eyes will be at this point.

Lowry Bridge, Salford Keys, Manchester
25mm, 1/200sec, f/13, ISO-200

The curve and horizontal lines of the bridge draw the viewer's eye towards the tower on the right hand side of the photograph. The diagonal lines created by the hand rails and ramp also help to leed the eye upto the subject.

Fallen Tree
32mm, 1/160sec, f/8, ISO-800

I have added a photograph of a fallen tree that I took at Dunham Park. The lines of the grain in the rotting wood draw the eye up the picture towards the mangled remains of the roots.