Pattern texture and shape

Most photographs are 'subject orientated', meaning that who, or what, is featured in the shot is of the greatest interest. Others are more 'structure orientated' - enjoyed not necessarily so much for the subject as for the way the picture has been seen and constructed. In practice, both aspects should be present if you want a unified picture rather than a random snap.

The pattern and shapes used in photographs are like notes and phrases used to structure music. But in visual image form they are linked with texture too - each one of the three often contributing to the others. Pattern, for example, may be formed by the position of multiple three-dimensional shapes, like the house fronts in Figure 5.1. Or it might be no more than marks of differing tones on an otherwise smooth, flat surface. Then again, pattern can be revealed on an even-toned textured surface through the effect of light - as with the weatherboard on an old barn. Pattern, texture and shape should be sought out and used as basic elements of composition, provided they support and strengthen rather than confuse your picture.

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