Old Tyme Railroad

Elements of Art: Walking the Line.


Few words are as used in the English language as line.  We draw lines, cross the line, get in line, stand in line, run a line and can even get out of line.  The fun does not stop there.  In mathematics you often have to graph lines using formulas and find the length of lines using geometry and trigonometry.  Well, there exists yet another place where you will meet lines.  The art world is full of them.

A line is a series of points or dots placed next to each other so closely that they obscure the single point and make , you guessed it, a line.  Straight lines are not the only lines available.  There are also curved, twisted, curled, broken and parallel among a chosen few.  If you have multiple lines you will end up with shapes.

In photography, both visual and implied lines exist.   The challenge of photography is to use lines in your photographs to guide the viewer to what you want them to see.  This is done many ways, but the use of an implied line is the most effective and the least distracting. When a picture has a person or animal in it the eyes create an implied line or a vector.  The viewer will tend to follow towards the direction the eyes of the animal or person is looking.  The same thing can happen when a person points in a picture.  So, basically, if a woman is in a picture looking at a barn and pointing at the barn, the viewer will look at the barn.

Rush Hour in Chama
Notice how the curb draws you to the center.


Using lines is useful when trying to tell a story in your picture.  Vector lines are a way to say, ”Look here. This is important”.  It will offer movement and action in the photograph. Indeed artists use this element to provide non-verbal communication.  In essence, this creation of action or communication is what makes art, well art.  Artists attempt to communicate on some level about some particular subject or feeling, and they use lines to do it.

Why not start your own artistic journey ?  Sign up to be a friend of A&A Photographic Arts today!

What's on your mind?