elements of design # 5 – curved lines

new building, near work

new building, near work

For this exercise, look for and take four photographs using curves to emphasise movement and direction.

– AoP Coursebook

Fig 1 – the lines from the tight spiral of the staircase seem to coalesce around the man’s head and shoulders combining with the motion blur and his direction of travel to carry him on, down into the building

Fig 2 – I had already started to frame up the way the twist in the path ahead of me combined with the greenery and sky to give a sense of a view that someone had reached out into, pinched between two fingers and twisted slightly in a clockwise direction when I heard the cyclist approaching behind me. I noted the diagonals of the power cables against the sky adding further to the sense that the view was directing itself towards the upper right third of the picture. Then the man on the bike zoomed past me and leaned out prior to following the loop of the road to the right. I released the shutter (or whatever it is you do with a digital camera). I like this picture very much, both in its black and white version, used here, and in colour.

Fig 3 – There are a lot of diagonal lines acting like the spokes of a wheel with the arc of its rim curving up from the bottom left to the top right, defined more clearly by the roadlines, with the eye sliding between the KEEP painted on the tarmac and the car sliding out of shot. The picture seems a bit of a chaotic patchwork of light reflected off windows and shadows cast by a bridge, a streetlight, some scrubby trees, but it just about holds together well enough, along the line of the curve to be included here…

Fig 4 – the iron hoop around the tree at the edge of the Olympic park concentrates your attention nicely on the trunk as it passes through it; a nice contrast of straight and curved.


I found it relatively easy to find curves to photograph for this exercise, but much harder to then photograph them in a way that lifted them beyond being simply exercises. In fig 2, I think I succeeded; fig 1 is almost there, but could possibly do with a bit more space to the left and the right of the helical staircase; the tree in a hoop in fig 3 is a bit dull. Fig 4 though, interests me more – it’s not quite there maybe, but there is something going on in it (again desaturated as here or in the original colour) that I need to think about a bit more…

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