Monday, 14 March 2011

Part 2 Elements of Design; Project:Lines, Curves

Exercise: Curves

Objective: To find and take four photographs using curves to emphasise movement and direction.

4837: 1/250s f8 18mm
This is not a great image, the lighting is wrong and wasn't planned the way it turned out. This is a 180° curved window on the corner of a street. My original intention was to see the effect of the curve on the reflections of passing cars hoping it would provide interesting subject matter. There was too much in the display and the cars appeared smaller than I hoped. Looking at it later I noticed the horses head and the flared pillars. Then it struck me. The movement was just like a merry go round. I had tried to straighten it but that definitely reduced the impact. A good example of a curve enhancing movement.

4859: 1/200s f7.1 22mm
The curved edge of the village pond moves your eye from bottom left and across the centre back to the left. Although not an inspired choice of subject it does show movement through the frame.

4863: 1/80s f4.5 31mm 
The curved archway is enclosing the space and moving the eye to the second arch. The open gate adds to the movement into the churchyard.

4874: 1/200s f7.1 32mm

The fence in this picture divides the frame, echoes the tracks in crop and moves the attention across the whole of the image, helped by the downward diagonal of the slope left to right.

What have I learned? It is very easy to see curves in everyday scenes and curved or rounded objects. What is more difficult is to interpret these curves into movements (real or implied) that help you to understand the composition and why it works (or not). I have looked at the examples in the course book and the more detailed explanations in the Photographers Eye and concluded that it is easier to see the elements of design in successful images than it is to go out and use these elements to compose successful images. I am hoping these exercises will enable me to do this more intuitively in future. At the moment though, I am finding it very hard work. To help make this point I have included more of my archived images which illustrate the movement of curves.

 Here the dry stone wall is indicating the path to be followed by the walkers in this group.

The obvious curve of the path into the gate is extended to the massive bulk of the bastion in the moat. Here the curve is indicating strength as well as movement.

Obvious again but no less valid, the scimitar like prow on this fishing boat shows fast, clean movement.

Finally, the repeated curves in these fishing nets show movement in rhythm (I thinks that's the next section).

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