October Lines And Squares

Hanging garden

Hanging garden

Hohner Erica button accordion carried by a morrisman

Hohner Erica button accordion

Blue art glass by Craig Mitchell Smith

Blue art glass

Shop window with reflected buildings in Manchester's Northern Quarter

Window shopping, Northern Quarter, Manchester

Running throughout the month of October, Becky’s Lines&Squares challenge will make you realise that every photo you’ve ever taken has at least one line in it.

My submissions feature multiple sets of lines that are confusing if we allow the eye to trace them all, comparing and contrasting, particularly the picture of reflections in a city shop window. In each picture, we have to step back from exploring the lines to see the whole: an interesting exercise.

28 thoughts on “October Lines And Squares

  1. Oddment says:

    At the beginning of my botanical drawing classes, the instructor declared that our drawings would have no lines. Lines were forbidden! I was confounded — how does one draw without lines? And that is when the entire concept of The Line became engrossing to me. I love all these images and their expressions of Line.

      • Oddment says:

        Yes, I did: the appearance of a line was to be accomplished with infinitesimally fine shading. She said there were no lines in nature and therefore no lines in botanical drawing. It really did change my way of seeing. It also changed my back because of the hours hunched over the drawing board.

        • susurrus says:

          For better, for worse then. I find myself agreeing with HeyJude (below) that nature does have lines, but can see the benefit in labouring through art to persuade us it does not. And, as always, it depends on interpretation – nature does not have two dimensional ones, which is perhaps the point of her ‘lines’.

  2. Heyjude says:

    You are quite right that these challenges do make us think more about our photography. Lines are everywhere and I disagree with the art teacher who said there are no lines in nature. Has she never looked at a leaf? To my mind those veins are distinctly lines.

    • susurrus says:

      My instinct is to think nature does have lines, but she was making a point by being outrageous as it is not as easy to represent them as we might expect. I have no experience of botanical drawing unfortunately, but it is perhaps like the rules that say we should not end a sentence with a preposition or split an infinitive.

  3. Steve Schwartzman says:

    You did a nice job with abstractions in these images.

    The nature photographer in me begs to differ with your statement that “every photo you’ve ever taken has at least one line in it”—assuming that by “line” you mean “straight line”. Your statement is often true for photographs that include human elements like those in this post’s four pictures. On the other hand, many nature photographs show no straight lines.

    • susurrus says:

      I was interpreting lines very loosely, including curved and wavy lines – I suppose anything with progression or outline. You are very much in tune with Oddment’s comment about her drawing instructor’s words (in the comments above).

      • Steve Schwartzman says:

        “Line” used to mean what we would now call “curve”. People sometimes still use the word in the older sense, as you say you do. It was the ambiguity that led to the creation of the unambiguous term “straight line”, which mathematicians see as a redundancy because in the technical sense a line is necessarily straight.

        • susurrus says:

          It’s interesting how words change their meaning. I’d see a need for a modifying word – straight, curved, wavy, meandering – to define a particular type of line, but I am not a mathematician.

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