Many images contain implied lines within their composition.  These can act as pointers or lines of travel for the eye and can add considerably to the dynamics and interest of an image.


Two images are presented within the course which demonstrate this, namely a bull fight scene and a Sicilian farming scene.  These are reproduced below and, using Pixelmator for the first time (!), I have attempted to draw lines onto the image to demonstrate some of the implied lines.  My skill does not yet extend to including arrow heads to indicate the ‘line of travel’.   matador 1


This is a powerful image and the focus is clearly on the dominant black mass of the bull.  This focus is not only created by the solidity of the mass of the bull but also by a number of implied lines which draw the eye towards the bull’s shoulder where a  dart has already been placed.  These lines include the upper edges of the two capes and the upraised tail.  The lean of the matador and his downward angled head also tend to draw the eye towards this point as does the curving red line of blood (?) in the sand.  I have not attempted to draw in these lines on the image as I believed it would confuse.   Farming 1


As with the previous image, whilst the solid black mass of the two horses provides a focus to draw the eye, the image is enhanced by a number of implied lines which keep the eye moving around the frame.  The line of sight of the farmer and the angle of his trailing leg lead in towards the leading horse as do the lines of the distant mountains and the straw on the ground.  In contrast, the lines created by the angle of the legs and bodies of the two horses and the angles of their heads lead the eye away towards the edges of the frame and then back again towards the centre.  Again I have not shown all the ‘implied lines’ for clarity.

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The second part of the exercise is to demonstrate the concept of ‘implied lines’ in some of my own photographs.  Below I have selected three of my own photographs and have included my written interpretation of how they work in the chosen images. IMG_4662_edited-1


This recent shot of my daughter and granddaughter blowing out the candles on a birthday cake demonstrates the concept of implied lines through their line of sight and the implied continuation of Anna’s right arm all of which focus attention on the central subject of the cake and its candles.  This was an unplanned and spontaneous photograph as I didn’t know it was about to happen.  As a result I was unable to remove the unsightly objects in the foreground or move to a position which might have better framed the action.  Zooming in did not work as it cropped the subjects too tightly.  Not a work of art, but it does capture the moment!

Downloads from cards 1300


This was a quick and candid shot taken on a local beach with a telephoto lens so as not to be intrusive.  It clearly captures a little drama where the girl is getting a bit of a dressing down from her father.  What drew my attention to the scene was the sense of isolation and intimacy of the two subjects on what was a quite busy beach and this is what I tried to capture.  The centre of attention is the two heads, the father’s face turned towards his daughter and the girl’s downwards looking in embarrassment or hurt.  The eye is led to this centre by the line of the father’s right arm with the bright pink spade, the  vertical lines of the bodies and the downward curve of the father’s upper body.  The line of the father’s arm and the spade also draws the eye away into the empty space to the left of the frame which accentuates the sense of isolation which the little girl must be feeling.

This image raises questions in my mind about Privacy Laws and their relevance to photography.  I am comfortable with this image but others might not be in the current climate of distrust and over-protection.

  IMG_3475 edited 1


 The focus of this image is the pizza within the pizza oven and a number of implied lines draw the eye to this point.  The handle and blade of the paddle provide a line leading to the pizza, as does the vertical line of the chimney. The strong shadow line across the face and neck of the subject together with his line of sight also focus attention on the focal point.  The frame provided by the open mouth of the oven also draws attention onto the pizza.

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The third part of the exercise required me to take two new photographs containing implied lines, one to demonstrate eye lines and the other to demonstrate the extension of a line or lines that point.


IMG_5770_edited-2 Whilst on a recent work party week on Skokholm Island off the Pembrokeshire coast I looked out for possible shots to use in my course exercises and this seemed to me to be an obvious candidate for the Implied Lines – Eye Lines example.  Everyone was entirely focussed on identifying and counting sea birds during a coffee break and the line of sight out to sea to the left of the frame is enhanced by the direction of the eyes, faces and binoculars.  Even the lines of the feet are pointing in the same direction as is the implied continuation of the line of the roof of the shed / look out hide.  The result is a very directional image which begs the question in the mind of the viewer “What are they looking at?” Of course, the image leaves that question open which heightens the sense of interest and mystery!

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I was photographing seals near the lighthouse at Strumble Head this week when this large, old bull seal turned up and approached one of the cows in shallows by the rocks. It was a scene full of possibilities and I was particularly interested in the powerful focus of the bull on the cow and the considerable difference in size between the two animals.  The implied lines of the body of the bull and the edge of the rocks above the seals lead the eye to the smaller cow which would otherwise be almost lost in the image.  As a result, both seals are clear subjects within the scene and the disparity in size between the two animals is highlighted.

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