diamond and texture

The photo of the month for January, 2008 from jgrantmac (click to view full size):

some rights reserved 
attribution & non-commercial
The “job” of an artist arguably is to focus our attention on objects that otherwise we would overlook. That’s why I chose this image from among other strong contenders (in particular, I like this image as much and maybe even more).

jgrantmac explains that you’re looking at a “smallish” (8×8 inches or so) design over a door on a house. It’s the sort of thing you might not notice even if you lived on that street.

The photographer is part scavenger hunter:  alert for odds and ends which possess unsuspected value.

The diamond pattern is lifted out of its context. We need a verbal explanation to know that it’s part of the design of a house. Viewed like this, we realize that it is indeed worthy of our attention:  it has a gentle aesthetic appeal.

The image is effective because of its simplicity. A single, pleasant colour; a single focal point; a static image (i.e., no implied movement); and plenty of negative space (previously discussed here).

With so little to distract us, our attention is focused on a series of diagonal lines, which form a simple geometric shape. For variety, our eyes drift to the right, where we discover that the texture of the photograph provides an alternate point of interest.

Those are the design elements that give this photograph its visual appeal:

  • Line — straight, diagonal;
  • Shape — geometric;
  • Texture — “surface qualities which translate into tactile illusions” (Wikipedia); and
  • Value — the variation in shade, from the relatively dark corners to the relatively bright centre (which once again focuses attention on the diamond).

Such simple elements as these are the raw material of all art.


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