Exercise Implied Lines

The eye always wants to follow a line. Whether it’s a path curving around to a lighthouse, or a row of lights strung up at a garden party. The eye wants to go somewhere and in photography you need to help it.

There are lines that are physical, railings, paths or aeroplane vapor trails. But the other type are those which don’t exist, not physically anyway, the mind wants a line and uses any elements to create it.. These are called implied lines and this is the next part of the course.

Implied Lines.

Before attempting this project I first read up about eye lines in Michael Freeman and it was very interesting what he wrote. “So strong is our attraction to images of the human face, that was pay instant attention to any face that appears clearly in a photograph. In particular, if the person in the photo is looking at something, our eye naturally follow that direction.” So by including a person in a photo you can produce a photo which is a lot more aesthetically interesting.
I especially love the photo that Michael Freeman took. http://www.manfrottoschoolofxcellence.com/2011/09/michael-freeman-how-did-you-shoot-that-mandalay-hill/ It is such a striking image and one that stayed with me even when I wasn’t looking at it. The eye lines play an essential part starting with the statue looking down at the first boy and so on before the final boy looks directly at the camera. And therefore at the viewer themselves. This reminds me of Andy Rouse’s photography and the incredible connection between subject and viewer. When you achieve something like that, a intense photo is created.

I looked at the Google image results of implied lines to give me some inspiration when I began to take my own. I found this photo and at first thought it was a professional image, then realised it was from someone doing the same course. http://ianfrithrn.files.wordpress.com/2012/07/implied-lines-6-copy.jpghttp://ianfrithrn.files.wordpress.com/2012/07/implied-lines-6-copy.jpg The eye line from father to daughter creates such a beautiful image and you can really sense the emotion and how much he loves her. The photographer wrote “The image contains a sense of intimacy and connection. This is created by the strong eye contact, myself gazing down at my daughter and her looking back at me. The eye contact creates an identifiable implied line which connects father and daughter emphasising the human bond.” This is a very moving and impacting photo that suits being converted to black and white, the emotion is exemplified more.

I had to study the following two photos and find the implied lines. The depicts an unfair battle between a matador and a bull, bull fighting, which I am against and I took no pleasure in studying at all. Bull fighting is an abhorrent ‘sport’ which should be banned and the only photos used should be in a campaign against it.


Below you can see the way in which the lines lead the eye.

Despite the brutality of the image, it has been cleverly photographed. The sweeping lines of the matadors cape and all curve towards the poor bull, the tracks in the sand reiterate this. The body of the matador is curved also. The curves on the left point towards the right and those on the left in the form of the bull lead to the matador reinforcing the battle against one another. Even the bulls tail swishes towards the matador. The only thing about the image that is for the bull, is that we see how weak man is when pitted against nature and how he may think he is the powerful element but he is nothing when faced with the natural world.
After analysing the photo I realised that the photo had served its purpose, in showing the horror and evoking emotion.


The second photo shows a man rounding up his horses. It’s very clever the way every element in the photo seems to work together to produce a directional photo. The photo is mainly based on the eye lines, starting with the distance horse whos eye line is directed at the horse in the foreground. What is clever about this horse is the way in which the horses head and eye line point to the right. As you can see from my study of the lines there are a great deal of them. The rope from the mans hand leads towards the first horse and even the body positions help to create this photo. It’s a very impressive photo in terms of direction.

“Elements that can create implied lines are some of the following “

A row of points.

The extension of a line.

The direction in which someone is looking.



In this photo of a duck and a dog, eye line plays an important part. Just as Michael Freeman used the eye line of the boys to show direction, I did the same with these. The duck is looking at the dog who in turn is looking the other way, in the direction of the lead. We don’t know what the dog is looking at which uses ambiguity to a good effect. Also to look into it further, the waves produced on the water lead in the direction of the dogs gaze, thus creating quite a directional photo. The humor of the photo arises in that it is usually the other way round with the dog watching the duck. The duck looks slightly secretive spying on the dog.



The next photo was taken of a candle in a glass jar. The only light was from these candles but with a high ISO I was able to achieve a sharp image. Though it took several goes without a tripod. The candle is positioned at an angle and leads up to the beam of light that is illuminating the leaves on the ground.



This is one of my favourite photos that I’ve taken. Your eye lands on the cat and the mind follows the direction of his gaze towards the paw. Even the lines in the driveway lead towards the cat and his whiskers add to the affect pointing towards the base of his paw so you can follow the line up. You wonder whether he is looking at his paw or pointing to something and creates an intriguing photo.

Other implied lines are. “A row of points” The eye automatically follows where the points are leading so it’s essential that there is a destination for the eye to arrive on. Whether it’s a building or a person. Either way if you use the lines they have to lead somewhere.



For instance this row of benches I took in some local gardens, lead the eye to the distance and create an implied line by allowing the viewers mind to fill in the gaps between the objects. However when photographing this I didn’t think where the line was going, instead I used the benches as the main focal point. But as the benches lead your eye there seems to be no place for it to go, apart from the car park, which doesn’t seem the most interesting of subjects.

Which is why when I took the next photo I thought more clearly about the composition. The tree in this photo leads the eye upwards but stops shortly just above the pagoda, therefore letting the eye drop down to the building. The orange sign in the bottom right hand corner acts as the fulcrum stringing the three elements together and creating equilibrium.



My final photo is taken of my two cats, Arran and Skye. I crouched down to their level so the sense of their world is revealed more, then held out the cat treat for both of them. It took a while for them both to look up at it but eventually they did. However I like this photo best because Skye looks across at Arran, leading the eye over to her. Then she batted her paw and coupled with her eye line the eye is lead towards the treat. Ideally I would edit the treat out but as photoshop isn’t working I have to rely on complete natural photography.


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