Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Texture

Like lines and curves, texture is yet another strong element of detail that needs to be communicated in a good photograph. It is about as how you feel about anything. It is about the feel of touch and the reaction. In photography, it could be known as the visual understanding of your physical touch without really touching.

Almost everything has some texture: rough or smooth, patterned or irregular, dramatic or subtle. It could be understood as the surface details that exist physically.

For me textures are about our feelings about the finish of any subject. It is more emotional than physical. It affects our comfort level of being with it. Imagine holding a dragon reptile in your hand and a silky feathered dove on the other hand. How do you feel looking at a rocky mountain and the fine sands of a silent beach?

Everything that exists on earth has a texture that emotionally disturbs you knowingly or unknowingly. They may be either man made or natural. As a photographer, could you really bring in the feel of these emotional disturbances of through the visual impact of different textures? In a sense, texture enables the eyes to touch the subject.

Look at the world around to understand as how the visual feel about the textures are changing when the quality of the light changes, during the different time of the day. The feel of texture also changes when the angle from which you see it changes.

It’s all the variations in the shadows and high lights that make the texture look different even if it feels the same.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Lines and Curves

Lines are the powerful means to direct your eyes and in to a particular direction. They are the inherent power of our mind when it comes to understanding visual communication. Our mind tries to read the visual of a line or a curve through continuous scan from a point to an end. This is the reason why they are used lavishly on road signs. An inverted ‘U’ with an arrow tip could communicate about the ‘U turn' on the road.

When you were a child, remember what you had ‘drawn or written’ for the first time before learning to write the alphabets….nothing but random lines. A script of a language contains nothing but lines and curves. A line starts from a dot. You could even understand the lines as the continuous dots..! Well, when you try to join four lines you get a square.., which is a well defined shape. Similarly joining three lines gets you a triangle.

What happens when you join both ends of a line? You end up in a circle. A circle is a curved line! A rhythmic pull of a strait lines towards a direction will give you curve. Curves are beautiful. They are the representation of a neat flow in a visual. They make the portraits look elegant and beautiful. An ‘S’ curve in a glamour shot makes it really attractive. That is the reason why we make our portrait subjects to stand or sit in a particular way. 

The flow of the hands and legs in the people shots gives you a feel of imaginary lines and curves. They ultimately tell about the character of the person in the photograph. Lines and curves establish the feel of depth in the landscape and architecture shot. 

Whatever may the subject we shoot, let us look for these imaginary lines and curves. This geometry will lead the eyes of the viewers to the importance of the subject and understand it effectively.

"Not everybody trusts paintings but people believe photographs."
-Ansel Adams