Friday, September 18, 2015

The Thing About Lines....

by Deanna

On Monday evening, with the encouragement of Lou my instructor for the Smokey Mountain trip I took 2 years ago, I attended the MAPS (Morton Arboretum Photography Society) meeting where he was giving a presentation.  Lou is very well known and loved all over the Chicagoland area because of his tremendous knowledge of photography, his amazing skills at teaching, and his terrific personality. His presentation was a very condensed version of a 6 week course he offers at a local college in the far north suburbs (a trip for me) entitled "Designing Your Photographs."

He began by saying that you must have good design to create an image that:
  • evokes feelings
  • expresses ideas clearly, or
  • records scenes, objects or events effectively
Then he went on to discuss the building blocks of visual design:
Light - Line - Shape - Texture - Perspective

I am certainly not going to go into each of these building blocks but I decided to focus on one. Lines have always intrigued me in their shape, form, and design.  Lines are certainly the most prevalent design element. They can easily been seen because of their tonal or color contrast. Lines easily define shapes and clarify spaces between areas and they can lead us to places.

I decided to look back into my archives and find some images that fall into this design element.

Straight lines 1) have a sense of purpose  2) define shapes  3) can take us to & from areas in a scene

Whereas curving lines 1) may create a more relaxed trip through the photograph  2) may be sensual or tranquil.  The photo above fits into both of these categories, the straight lines provide structure, whereas the curving lines take us to an unknown space.

When making a scene with lines as the prevalent design element consider:

  • they carry visual weight - thin less impact than thick
  • straight ones may convey rigidity and structure
  • horizontal may impart calm or a stable feeling
  • vertical may convey stiffness and formality, strength or growth
  • oblique or angled may convey a sense of motion
"Line is a rich metaphor for the artist. It denotes not only boundary, edge or contour, but is an agent for location, energy, and growth. It is literally movement and change - life itself." ~  Lance Epsland


terriporter said...

Oh, my, you have captured some beautiful lines! I love them all! I can't pick a favorite but I really love the cat in the doorway and the bridge in Naperville. And that fence going off into the snowy background? Magic! Many times I know what I like but not the reason why so thanks for the line lesson!

Cathy H. said...

I've always loved lines, although I don't think I've ever photographed them as well as you have! My favorite is the old wood fence in the snow. I need to spend some more time working with lines!

Carol said...

Me too, Deanna - Lines ARE really fascinating in composition. Im taking drawing lessons currently, and I am finding that years of looking at lines photographically is really helping me. There are many points here that I was not consciously aware of, and these photos are beautiful!! Each better than the previous! Great Post!

Sarah Huizenga said...

I love lines, especially leading lines. Loved seeing yours.

Liz said...

Such a fabulous collection of lines!

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