02/09/2006

Composition design (part 5)


"What is the difference between shape and form?"
Not too much in the scheme of things or when you quickly think about it, but in photographic terms, they can be miles apart.
 

We are referring to shapes as in circles, rectangles, triangles, squares, alphabetical shapes, such as "As" and "Aitches", etc.
Shape also refers to a two dimensional outline, whereas, form relates to a subject's three dimensional nature. Understand? Mmmmmmmmm?
With form we refer to the way light plays on the edges of surfaces in producing "form". If you can imagine in your mind the very first sunlight rays of morning or last rays of evening light, on the tops and sides of misty, rolling hills or dunes, or even the human torso.
The direct side-lighting effect characterises the "form" of these surfaces and their texture, softly and sensually as if creating abstracts and making their appearance differ from the usual way we view them.
It is the light and shadows that create "form", which also exaggerates contour and texture.
Shapes too can stir up the emotions in some viewer's minds, as most can identify with a circle or square or triangle. Triangles with their sloping sides are also suggestive of power and strength.
You can find many examples of shapes in bridges, buildings, churches, old doorways, window frames or brickwork, even tunnels or pipes and as already suggested, shapes that form letters of the alphabet.
You can utilize some of these shapes as frames to emphasize your main subject, or to direct the eye of the viewer to the centre of interest. We will discuss framing later.

Use this link to go to part 6