The first part of this exercise is to illustrate the implied lines in the two images provided in the course material; Threshing Corn in Sicily by Gotthard Schuh and Corrida by Michael Freeman. I have sketched the two images, scanned them into the computer and then illustrated the lines using arrows in PhotoShop. The second part of the exercise requests that we use three of our already taken images and perform the same analysis and illustrate the results, the third and final part is to take two photographs that use the following kinds of implied lines to lead the eye: an eye line and the extension of a line.
The following two images of ‘Part 1’ of this exercise are sketches of the images provided in the course materials with illustrations of the implied lines.
Threshing Corn in Sicily by Gotthard Schuh
The strongest implied line in this image is from the closest horse to the man, since the horse’s head is the largest and most dominant thing in the photograph; the second is that from the man to the horse. I have illustrated an eye-line from the horse at the back and three more lines demonstrating the direction in which all three objects in the photograph are travelling or facing. All of the lines in the image suggest a entire choreographed story to follow.
Corrida by Michael Freeman
The strongest implied line in this image is in fact a definite line that points into the centre of the image; this is the reason for its strength. Each of the lines in this image either point to the centre or point to another line that does, leading the viewer directly to the image’s focal point. There is implied movement from both the toreador’s cloth and the bull and therefore implied lines appear in these areas of the image. Just like ‘Threshing Corn in Sicily’, you can’t help but imagine the entire choreographed story that follows unfolding before your eyes.
The following three images were taken from my existing portfolio to demonstrate implied lines (illustrated).
Polish Artists on the Streets of Wroclaw
This image’s lines are mostly eye-lines: the artist to the left looks at his subject, the artist on the right looks at his work; the ‘passer-by’ looks at the artist’s work and so on. There are only minor extensions of lines from the artist’s feet and legs that don’t lead the viewer to any distinct focal point; the viewer’s eye almost flickers over the whole image in a very erratic fashion.
Big Issue Seller
The biggest implied line in this image is clearly the woman’s gaze to the floor as she looks down subdued. The second strongest lines are implied by the lines and cracks between the slabs on the floor that, by perspective, lead the viewer in and out of the image. There is an extension of a line emanating from the tip of the woman’s foot, however, this line could just as easily lead the viewer’s eye in the other direction up the woman’s figure to her face and then away with her gaze.
The Butter Market, Newark
All of the implied lines, but two, are formed by perspective in this image, one of the remaining lines is an eye-line from the dressed mannequins to the left of the image; the other, a line from the top to the bottom of the stairs at the end of the hall. All of the implied lines lead to the centre of the image, to the focal point; the door at the end. The perspective of the camera has almost formed a centrifuge of lines around the door. There are also faint, thick lines across the pillars that almost join perfectly to form a two lines running horizontally into the centre of the image.
This part of the exercise requested that we take two photographs, one to illustrate an extension of a line and one to illustrate an eye-line.
Extension of a line
The road in this image of a man jogging implies a very strong line which bends to the right carrying the line with it. The line is very directional and leads the viewer straight through the image to the jogger and then the end of the road; even the periphery of the trees in the top of the image lead the viewer to that very same place in the image and the jogger’s eye-line does too. Perspective has allowed a much easier entry to the image for the viewer’s eye as it wanders in from side-to-side.
Averting the gaze of the audience is Robin Hood, outside Nottingham Castle. Three of the four people are looking straight into the face of the legendary character whilst the fourth is studying a guide book of some sort, we can tell all this from the implied eye-lines in the image. Robin clearly has something far more important to focus on; me, it would seem. The three implied eye-lines from the audience are all equal in strength rendering the image to have no dominant implied line.
I can honestly say that after this exercise, I will never look at a photograph in the same way again; I will be building a network of implied lines in my head to form a structure on which to build my composition on. After doing this exercise, I realise the importance that lines have on the structure and composition of an image; more importantly, however, how a story can so easily unfold before the viewer’s eyes with clever and strategic use of implied lines. I will be shooting with close consideration for the things that I have learned in this exercise.