Start by looking at these two photographs and find the implied lines in each showing them in a small sketched diagram. If one direction along a line is dominant indicate this with an arrow.
The half circular mark in the ground leads the eye through to the cape in the bullfighter’s right arm, which in turn is swinging over the bull’s head. The cape in his left hand is following this sweep around his back. The bull is circling the bullfighter from camera left. The bullfighter’s head is bent over watching the bull’s horns. One can feel the synchronised swirling motion of the capes and waltz between the bullfighter and bull.
In Schuh’s Threshing Corn in Sicily the implied lines are evident in the curve and inward leaning of the horses’ bodies. The horses are circling the farmer. The farmer is looking at the horses, while his left hand and leg form diagonal lines towards the horses. The lead horse is looking towards the farmer, while the second horse is looking towards the lead horse.
Both these photos are good examples of the Gestalt Law of Good Continuation in which the brain perceives the shapes and lines where no formal lines exist.
Then find any three photographs of your own, and perform the same analysis.
These seagulls standing on an iceberg in the middle of the ocean form a distinct line on the iceberg, leading the eye from left to right as can be seen in the marked up photo below.
The two dogs accompanying the girl on her lunch at Ketchikan harbour dockside are clear examples of eye-lines. One is immediately drawn to the dogs’ gaze, and one follows their gaze on their owner as they watch her eating. She is oblivious to them, her eye-line focused on her food. This is a great example of the Gestalt Law of Good Continuation. Marked up photo is below. Unfortunately the brown dog shifted his position forward just as I pressed the shutter, otherwise I would have had his full face in the photo and there was no retake opportunity.
In Fig. 05 we see the lady in the pink jacket is passing something to the man with the shopping bag. There is a forward motion of her hand and he has just begun to reach out with his right hand to take the slip of paper from her. Both individuals are focused on the paper in her hand as can be seen in the marked up photo below.
For the third part of the exercise, plan and take two photographs that use the following kinds of implied lines to lead the eye:
- an eye-line
- the extension of a line, or lines that point.
The train tracks and yellow caution line along the sidewalk form converging lines in the distance implying movement towards the little hamlet of Skagway in Alaska as can be seen in the marked up photo below.
On this cold day in Tracy Arm fjord aboard the MS Zaandam, pea soup was served to the passengers to keep them warm while outside looking at the glaciers. These three people were on the bow partaking of some soup. Both the men are looking down at the woman’s spoon as she is about to put some soup in her mouth. Her eye-line is focused on her own soup spoon as well as can be seen below – another example of Gestalt’s Law of Good Continuation.
Freeman, Michael (2007). The Photographer’s Eye: Composition and design for Better Digital Photos, The Ilex Press. Lewes, England.