Lines, subtle and otherwise

ISO 100, 93mm, 1/100 sec., f/8

ISO 100, 93mm, 1/100 sec., f/8

Our eyes love to follow lines.  They entice us to gaze along their stretch, luring us from point of origin to point of ending.  They enclose objects of interest or carry our sight away from places the photographer wants us to ignore.  Multiply them and their seduction becomes overwhelming, taking an act of will by the viewer to look elsewhere in the frame.  This image is full of lines – lines that curve around the middle, lines that stand straight to the sky, lines that disappear into the distance, horizontal lines that ground their part of the scene to the earth.  The content becomes secondary to the myriad of lines.

ISO 100, 62mm, 1/320 sec., f/8

ISO 100, 62mm, 1/320 sec., f/8

Here are lines real and possibly imagined, skewed and angled, straight and level.  The breakwater comes out of shadow to shine warmly against the cool lake water, which defines a ruler-straight horizon behind it.  The sunbeams (are they really there?) point upward to the sun, angling their vectors to bring the viewer down into the space below them and on through the horizontal barrier and into the lake.  The cloud layers imitate the horizon in a ragged manner, putting multiple ceilings across the sky to hold the view in place.

We are sensitive to lines and to patterns that break lines to stand out.  Evolution has programmed us to survive by being this sensitive, aware of the normality of pattern and sharply attentive to the pattern breaking danger.  For civilized man art has broadened our appreciation beyond the glance necessary for survival to see the expression essential to a fuller life.


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