VC04_B01 Line and shape


The objective of this activity is to enhance your awareness of the possibilities of using line and shape as design elements in your photographic composition to direct the viewer’s attention within the image.


The Activity:


In your local environment identify and photograph examples of lead line, L shape, V shape and diagonals as compositional devices.  Visual artists use these lines and shapes in many ways. These devices can be used to lead the viewer’s eye through the image past one or more intended subjects, leading onto a single focal point. This is especially true when it comes to the use of “lead lines”. Lead lines can be anything with a defined line that will lead the eye. Fences, edges of buildings, roads etc. can be used to lead the viewer’s eye. Essentially, you as the photographer are trying to influence the way your image is viewed: if you succeed in your intended composition your narrative will be that much more powerful. When looking for suitable subjects keep in mind what you want your viewer to see, where you want them to first look and the journey you want them to take. For example, a winding road leading up to a large oak tree: the oak tree is the intended subject that you want to be the main element of the image, but its surrounding environment can sometimes be as important, so you use the road to lead the viewer through the environment ending at the intended subject. Other shapes, including L, V and diagonals, can be used in similar ways, leading the viewer’s eye through the image in a deliberate way. By using these compositional devices you can turn an otherwise ordinary snapshot into something quite intriguing simply by influencing the way it is viewed. When you find suitable locations in which to test these compositional devices, make sure that you take more than just one image. Try out different angles, tilts, heights etc. so that you can review them at a later stage and gain a better understanding of what works and why.

Make a series of jpeg exposures. Allow about 1 hour to complete this activity.

Select the most successful image of each of the four compositional devices: lead line, L shape, V shape and diagonals. Your images will be loaded onto the computer and shared with the class.

Image 1 – Leading Line


Image 2 – L Shape Line


Image 3  V line


Image 4 – Diagonals



Well, this was a LOT of fun, Federation Square is a buzz of activity ALL the time, and a lot of it is students looking at many many things, students of all ages and studying all subjects, along with public performances, people relaxing, workmen, tourists, people on lunch breaks, there is just so much going on and every where you look, there are lines.. all sorts of lines.. tram lines running into the distance, the electrickery wires above are lines that criss cross infinite in their intricacy, the stairs, the flagpoles, the amazing architecture.. and then there’s the view FROM the square – oh my!  Talk about spoilt for choice!


Somehow I think I missed the best of the lines, but still, I had a LOT of fun, and I will revisit this project at a later date on my own time, just to see how my eye has developed.  So, without further ado, here are my mediocre attempts at lines…


About Rattimoth

Middle aged with freckles, the rest is subject to change without notice.
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