Understanding the visual elements and Depth

Date Published: 9/28/2011
Category: Straight Takes

 Understanding the visual elements and Depth

Lines are all around us; it is a powerful visual element, it brings directions to our lives and directs the way we are to see things. The direction a line takes, can determine its symbolism. Horizontal, curve, vertical or slating lines symbolises powerful energy. One can see in this image, that of the water dew hanging onto a diagonal leaf, it evokes a feeling of movement or speed. In addition, this image has visual weight, resulted from the psychological impact of the shape and form of the two drops of ‘hanging’ water dew. The line, shapes and forms present in this image generates a specific emotional response.

A well-composed, stark, just about defined shape of a silhouette frees a viewer’s imagination without any interference. Image of silhouette is not difficult to create but can end up looking miserable if they over merged. In this image of 3 silhouette figures, the existence of implied lines is caused by the link or interference of the hands of the adults and the child, they are linked .A viewer’s eye perceives this contact or chain, linking the 3 figures. A viewer’s eye will travel along this chain or line. 

Photographers often include a foreground object such as branches of a tree or leaves hoping to increase visual interest. However, this is only good if the framing actually contributes to it. Otherside, it may serve as a distraction, ends up dominating the image, and becomes the centre of attraction. I find that in this image, the foreground of leaves merely provide a bit of useful information of the place where the image was taken.  The centre of interest is in the background scene, the foreground leaves does not lead the eye into the scene or the frame but stop short in front and instead a detour to the lower frame of the image.  Here, the leaves just intrude and distract the eye and the image is better off without it.

The elements of shapes, lines, form, patterns are often composed to give more visual graphic language to an image. In this image, the shapes, this refers to how lines are organised into an interconnected and solid two dimension outlines, while the use of  the red chair (form) , and the contrast between the light and the darker area of the wall of the sidelight, are added forms thus giving a  three dimensional  volume to the overall image. The photographer has arranged these visual elements in an order or pattern in this composition.

Form as an element gives us an impression the object or subject matter exists and has depth. It depends on the light and shadow to create the depth and they are often photographed under the contrast of light such as early or sunset. The round, square or triangular shapes of these rocks give a different emotional responds and the hard-edged form can be interpreted as aggressive and rigid.  

In terms of subject matter, this image is very similar to the one above, in the use of graphic and depth in a composition. It shows the element of form, shapes and the mood is serene.  Here the foreground rock leads the eye to the middle rocks and further back to the next and into the background shape of an island along the left of horizon. As the eye moves into the image, the rocks appear to be further and smaller, implying a sense of distance is increasing (Depth). In addition, the line-up of rocks in the form of a line helps to draw the eye into the distance of the bright area and light of the sky.

Line, direction and horizon line. Line play a role in directing a viewer’s attention, as can be seen in this image of a some sort pipeline or jetty that leads into the horizon of the sea. In this image, the line conveys a feeling of mass and power. The mood set by the calm and gentle sea and the horizontal line suggests a peaceful environment. It is important that the use of lines can leads a viewer into the composition but equally important that making sure that it contributes to the overall sense of the composition and the overall tone of the photographer wants to create.