1Composition 2The Visual ElementsThe visual elements (also sometimes calleddesign elements) are the ‘things’ which make upan image - line, tone, shape, colour and so on.
2List of Visual Elementsthe ‘things’ that make up an imageLine – actual or implied lines within the compositionShape – areas defined by their edges within the piece.Form – the three dimensional quality of an object or shape – itslength, width and depth.Tone – describes the darkness or lightness of a particular area inan image. Shading from light to dark tone is often used toemphasize the form (an object’s three dimensional quality).Colour - hues with their various values, intensity, and saturationSpace - the space taken up by objects or the space in-betweenobjects (sometimes called negative space).Texture - surface qualities of the artwork.
3Kasimir Malevich, The Black Square,1915Kandinsky, In the Black Square, 1923This abstract painting by the Russian artistKandinsky is composed of lines, geometricshapes, and solid colours.The Black Square is a painting which, as the name suggest is just a black paintedsquare. The image is therefore composed of the visual elements colour, tone,space and shape. However, when we study the painting more closely we discoverthat the surface of the painting has texture, we see that the brush marks have leftlines, and even the black colour seems to reflect other colours from the room.
4LineLine is a really useful visualelement when constructingimages.Lines are formed by theedges of things when thereis an apparent contrastbetween light and darkareas or between differentcolours or textures.Lines can also besuggested or implied bypatterns or repetition.In this image where are theimplied lines and where dothese lines draw theviewer’s eye?Henri Cartier Bresson
5LineLine is a really useful visualelement when constructingimages.Lines are formed by theedges of things when thereis an apparent contrastbetween light and darkareas or between differentcolours or textures.Lines can also besuggested or implied bypatterns or repetition.In this image where are theimplied lines and where dothese lines draw theviewer’s eye?Henri Cartier Bresson
6Horizontal And Vertical LinesHorizontal lines can suggesta feeling of stability,calmness or tranquillity.Vertical lines can suggestpower and strength.Chris Monaghan
7Horizontal And Vertical LinesHorizontal lines can suggesta feeling of stability,calmness or tranquillity.Vertical lines can suggestpower and strength.Chris Monaghan
8Paul StrandStudy this urban landscape by Paul Strand. Discuss what Strand mighthave been saying about the society … would you like to live there?How do the strong vertical lines and dark shadow areas affect yourinterpretation of the image?
9Diagonal LinesDiagonal lines tend to be visually dynamic – suggestingmovement, a ‘visual tension’ and/or excitement.Chris Monaghan www.hjk.co.uk
11Curved LinesCurved lines often suggest organic (living, breathing) things.
12Your task:You will have 15 minutes to take a series of photographs where you haveconsidered line and form in your composition.How could you change someones perception of a place by the way thatyou have composed your image?Think about the angle that you are taking your photograph- compare them.How does this change the outcome?Photos will need to be printed out or sentto me to be printed for the next lesson.
email@example.comPhoto of the week….Send to:By period 4 tomorrow!!
14Masolino, St. Peter Healing a Cripple and the Raising of Tabitha, 1425The added black lines show the use of a ‘vanishing point’ to create arealistic impression of three dimensional space – commonly referred to as‘realistic perspective’.Form(The three-dimensionality of the artwork)
15How does the photographer suggest three-dimensional space (i.e. depth)?Film still from The Manchurian Candidate
161. Man’s head is larger than woman’s so our brains interpret this as suggesting that heis nearer to the camera than the woman.2. Background is out of focus suggesting depth3. The lighting creates shading suggesting three dimensional form
17FayGodwinWhat visualelement(s) help givethis photograph‘depth’ and a three-dimensionalcharacter?
18FayGodwinWhat visualelement(s) help givethis photograph‘depth’ and a three-dimensionalcharacter?Answer: theconverging linesformed by thetracks and ceilingsupports.
19MatisseSome artists completelyrejected the idea that awork of art had alwaysto imitate the three-dimensional character ofthe world (form), as inthis collage by HenriMatisse entitled TheSnail.
20ToneAngus McBeanTone describes the darkness orlightness of a particular area inan image. Very light areas aresometimes called highlightsand very dark areas are calledshadow areas.Shading (where the tonechanges gradually fromhighlight to shadow) is oftenused to emphasize the form andthree dimensionality of anobject.Shadow Mid-tone Highlight
21TextureAn image can create a visualexperience which suggests aparticular tactile sensation.For example, thisphotograph of dry rottingwood creates an impressionor feeling of dry dustiness,while the porcupine conjuresup the feeling of sharppoints … Ouch!Whilst photographs normally only createan impression of texture, other artworkssuch as painting and sculpture caninclude actual textures.How could you make a photographinclude actual texture?
22SpaceSpace can be filled or left empty (negative space).Study these two images of urban life …
23SpaceSpace can be filled or left empty (negative space).The images are by Joel Meyerowitz and Andre Kertesz and use spaceto suggest very different meanings about life in the city.One image suggests vibrancy, action and the ‘buzz’ of city-life whilethe other uses space to suggest a more melancholic, alienated andlonely feel.
24The positioning of visual elements(lines, shapes, colours and so on) inan image can sometimes create afeeling of visual balance.Visual balane can create a feeling ofthe image just being ‘right’Images with a centrally located subjectare sometimes called ‘formal’compositions. Having the subject inthe middle might create a sense ofvisual ‘balance’ but can also appearrather boring to the modern eye.Note: Not all images are ‘balanced’.GainsboroughBalancing The Visual Elements
25How does the photographer create a feeling of ‘balance’ this image?Norman Parkinson
26Tomatsu ShomeiAt first glance thisimage might notappear balanced,but look moreclosely ….How does Shomeiachieve balance inthis unsymmetricalimage?
28JuxtapositionJuxtoposition is the placing of things close to one another in orderto emphasise their difference.What is the major difference being emphasised here?
29Framing & CroppingTogethernessChris MonaghanWhen you take (or make) a photograph you determine thecomposition by choosing the camera viewpoint and whatto include (and what not to include) within the frame.
30Framing & CroppingLonelinessThis is the same photograph as the previous image butwith a different crop, produced in post-production.
31John Hilliard,cause ofdeath, 1974.Hilliard cleverlytook 4photographs ofthe same scene,but changed thecameraviewpoint andcropping so thateach image hasa differentmeaning.
32Aspect Ratio(the ‘shape’ of an image)Chris MonaghanThe aspect ratio of an image is the ratio of image length to width.Example: 6:4 for 6 inch by 4 inch prints (which also equals 3:2)
33Richard BillinghamRichard Billingham produced a series of photographs abouthis parents. He used the amateur 6:4 aspect ratio shape forhis images (just like amateur 6 inch x 4 inch prints).Why might he have chosen this aspect ratio?
34The GazeWhen we look hard at someone elseour gaze can sometimes beinterpreted as if we are saying “I amthe powerful one here”. Manet’sOlympia caused a scandal because hepainted a woman in a contemporarysetting who seemed by her gaze to bethe one with all the power - in 1863women were meant to do as they weretold by men!Titian, Venus D’Urbino,1538Manet, Olympia, 1863
35Images in which the subject looks directly at the viewer can have apowerful or disconcerting effect.Richard Avedon August Sander
36Composition SummaryVisual elements:Line, Shape, Form, Tone, Colour, Space, TextureSome ‘Rules’ of compositionJuxtapositionSymmetryRepetitionRule of thirdsRule of odd and evenRule of spaceSimplificationBalance