elements of design # 8 – rhythm and pattern

Produce at least 2 photographs, one should convey rhythm, the other pattern. Remember that that in rhythm there needs to be a sequence in the picture so that the eye will follow a direction and experience an optical beat. For the pattern photograph, be careful with the framing […] so that the eye can imagine it continuing well beyond it. – AoP Coursebook

1: Rhythm:

gable ends, kirkwall

1: gable ends, kirkwall

Where Freeman discusses this in The Photographer’s Eye (p48), he mentions that something inserted into a visual sequence to break a predictable pattern of repetition, can make the image more dynamic. Here, the chimneys (and the bird on a chimney pot) do that, but comes at the wrong side of the frame for what he goes on to describe as the natural progression of the eye from left to right. Now, I could have simply flipped the image over and been done, but instead I started wondering how culturally specific left-to-right scanning is and whether people who speak languages whose written text moves right-to-left (Urdu, say, or Arabic) or indeed from top to bottom (Chinese?) do not follow this, and also whether if that is the case it is reflected (no pun intended) in their art. Something to investigate when there’s time…

2: Pattern:


2: service lift floor, london

This is quite horrible in its remorselessly symmetrical repetition – it is all too easy to imagine this non-slip flooring extending to cover the entire surface of a planet or at least a small asteroid. I managed to keep the sensor nicely parallel with the floor of the lift, though!

And finally here’s an ‘almost’ for rhythm:


bike racks, leyton jubilee park

I’d noticed, the day before that at about 9.00am the sun rose above a row of trees, off to the rear of picture and started to cast shadows that made an interesting shadow. This day, I decided to be late for work and hang around and try to get a good rhythm picture for my original Assignment set. Annoyingly, the shadows didn’t quite line up, no matter where I put myself or which of the hoops I tried to line up with the left-hand shadow of one continuing the right-hand shadow of the other. The result is that it’s not bad, but it could be better; I assume that the shadows would line up for a few days in the year (rather as the sun shines down the entrance tunnel of Maeshowe chambered cairn in Orkney at midwinter, but with less obvious symbolism of rebirth etc etc ). I’ll keep an eye out.


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