Friday, August 20, 2010

From the Collaboratory

On the Diagonal

At the risk of exposing my complete lack of artistic training, I’d like to do a laywoman’s analysis of four photos and try to explain why they “work” for me. My hope is that, since so many viewers – of all of our images – are not professional artists, I can bring something useful to the table. I also hope those of you who know more about composition will share your wisdom.

Feet Winnipeg, Canada by MattJZylSaw

Sawatzky’s magic in this piece is that he conveys emotion through those most maligned of all human appendages, the feet. These feet are shy, protective of each other. The unevenly rolled pant legs suggest a certain vulnerability that is very appealing.

The diagonal shadows behind and beneath cup the feet, drawing our eyes immediately to the toes in particular, then up the legs. The effect is subtle and beautiful.

Film noir still life with Vintage Fan by lucysnowephotography

Contrast is perhaps the strongest element in Snowe’s piece: the blur of the spinning fan blades versus the stillness of the fan itself, the soft delicacy of the peony contrasted with the industrial hardness of the fan, and of course, the interplay of dark and light.

But again, the diagonals are at work, moving the eye to the center disk and out again to the flower. The image would be a terrific starting place for a novelist to spin a tale of the sultry South in, say, the 1940s.

Sea Ranch Barn by thartzo

In Todd Hartzo’s image, the diagonals are more obvious, but used skilfully to move us back along the fence, then up over the barn roof to the sea.
The warm tones of dry grass alternate with green, creating a subtle ripple effect that echoes the sea waves and adds to the sense of statis (fence, barn) versus movement (grass, sea). The result is soothing but not static.

The Grove by CreateLoveLaugh

Every time I look at CreateLoveLaugh's "The Grove," something new catches my eye. Light and shadow, the light streak - of mud? – winding its way diagonally across the ground, the fence, and the tree branches raised like of Marine swords in salute, all direct the viewer’s attention to the bright, arched opening at the center right of the image, inviting as a door to strange new worlds.

The sense of quiet welcome it conveys is irresistible.

Nakedeye17 (Su) thinks of photography as a wake-up call: "Hey, everybody! Are you seeing this?" She loves to capture humor, too, and anything wondrous strange. Find Nakedeye17's shop here.


PhotoGrunt said...

Wonderful selections, Su, and insightful analysis. I'm particularly drawn to Kimberly's "The Grove" and Matthew's "Feet", but then, I'm a sucker for B&W...

Well done!

Just Me said...

I am always learning and thank you so much for this lesson! I am amazed by how people "see" things. The photos you selected were great examples.

Just Me said...

I am always learning and thank you so much for this lesson! I am amazed by how people "see" things. The photos you selected were great examples.

MagMoment said...

Love the Grove. mood making!

Nakedeye17 said...

Thanks for your kind comments, everyone. Etsy has such phenomenal artists - it's a blast searching out new ones every week.