Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Elements of design: Project - Points

Exercise: Positioning a point

Aim:  The aim of this exercise is to position a single point in different parts of the frame to understand the graphic relationship the points have with the frame.

Approach and results:  I had a place in mind for this exercise that I had noted from previous outings.  This is a sign on the wall of an old building in Manchester.  The wall is large and relatively plain and uniform allowing me to place the sign anywhere in the frame whilst keeping it small enough to be a point.

F8  1/40sec  ISO200

For the first image I placed the sign in the centre.  This produced a somewhat flat and uninteresting image.  I also think that the sign is too large in this image and I should have zoomed out a bit further.  I also find that my eye wanders from the sign more readily than than in the other two images.

F8  1/40sec  ISO200

For the second image I placed the sign down to the right but not on the edge of the frame.  I was able to zoom out a bit further in this instance.  This shot shows a much greater scale to the wall.  The image is no longer divided equally as with the centrally placed sign.  The eye gravitates towards the sign more so than when it is placed in the middle.

F8  1/20sec  ISO200

Placing the sign nearer the edge of the frame  makes the sign feel more a part of that frame and not a subject within it.  The relationship has changed.  The sense of isolation in the previous image has been lost.  The following three images show the implied division of the frame created by the positioning of the sign.  As you can see the frame divides quite differently when the sign is central.


One of the issues of using a sign is that it has no direction and points neither into or out off the frame.  Using the example below, the kite has direction and as such is better placed leading into the picture.

The next two images show how colour can create the impression of a point where black and white suggests that this is not the case.  The harvester is far more conspicuous when bright red but competes with the trees and lines of hay in the black and white image.  

Learning points:

On posting the results I noticed that in moving the sign around the frame I automatically kept it the same distance from the vertical and horizontal edge.  It would be worthwhile changing this to explore the change in relationship of the subject to the frame.  I automatically placed it on the diagonal.
When identifying the points in an image it is useful to think in black and white to eliminate the influence of colour.

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