As suggested in the text for the exercise, the diagonals were rather easier to manufacture than to find naturally occurring in comparison to the horizontal and vertical lines that I photographed in the previous exercise. This exercise required me to find or manufacture four diagonal lines, either physical or implied and photograph them. Diagonals give a sense of dynamism and movement to an image and are very manufactured from the world around you. Simply using the natural vanishing point of a road or rail track, for example, instantly gives you a diagonal and gains ones attention. I could easily find these diagonals (along with horizontal and vertical lines) in the many HDB and high-rise blocks in my neighbourhood, but there again needed to be some disconnect between each image. I would need to think a bit harder than just the obvious. Whether I have or not is for someone else to judge.
OK, so it’s an HDB flat. But it does demonstrate the use of the vanishing point very well. I also like the grass bottom left and the turret on the play-house that compliment the initial reaction to the diagonals being made by the darkened walkways and light paint-work on each floor of the flats. Even the two aunties sitting on their bench are pulled in to the equation. This shot has been taken on a wide-angle which accentuates the length of the lines running across the frame.
Naturally occurring diagonals are not that common, especially in fruit. But that is one of the endearing features of durian (certainly it is not the smell!). The left over husks that have been split to remove the fruit inside leave a pleasing amount of straight edges, which are easily turned in to a diagonal. Again there is a complimentary aspect of the points of the fruit being triangular in shape and creating their own diagonal shapes within the frame.
A classic example of the vanishing point giving the viewer’s eyes a chance to disappear in to the horizon. The diagonal here is created entirely by the vanishing point with little help from the photographer although a wide-angle lens and low viewpoint help again to accentuate the length of the pier, which seems to quite literally vanish leaving the viewer wondering where it ends.
Rows and rows of headstones in this war memorial again disappear in to the distance. In fact I have cropped the frame at the boundary of the cemetery and used a tele-photo lens to compress the image giving the impression it is never ending. The diagonals are formed from the regular spacing given to the headstones. The highlights on the tops of the headstones help lead the eye away from the foreground. Obviously, shot from a different angle I could produce a completely different image (which would quite possibly involve vertical lines instead). This kind of image makes me want to go and explore beyond the boundaries of the frame to discover what’s there.
I realise from these four images that although I have manufactured the lines to an extent, they already existed providing I took the right approach. I haven’t used tilting angles to get the desired effect (on these images), but certainly did with other images I took for the exercise. The one below is taken whilst deliberately tilting the camera to an extreme angle so that the tops of the HDBs line up with the top of the frame.
The white background and very contrasty main image serve to give a feel of floating and the lines extending out of frame leave the viewer wondering how high and how far away the HDB units are as there is very little scale. f I had cropped the sky out completely, the image would have been altogether more imposing due to the very strong diagonal lines and complete lack of spacial awareness for the viewer due to giving no sense of place.
This leaves an altogether more suffocating, disorientating image. From a purely graphical and design point-of-view I prefer the image which retains the sky as it’s stark contrast is much more pleasing with the diagonal lines.