Brief

  • Take a number of shots using lines to create a sense of depth. Shooting with a wide- angle lens (zooming out) strengthens a diagonal line by giving it more length within the frame. The effect is dramatically accentuated if you choose a viewpoint close to the line.
  • Now take a number of shots using lines to flatten the pictorial space. To avoid the effects of perspective, the sensor/film plane should be parallel to the subject and you may like to try a high viewpoint (i.e. looking down). Modern architecture offers strong lines and dynamic diagonals, and zooming in can help to create simpler, more abstract compositions.
  • Review your shots from both parts of Exercise 1.3. How do the different lines relate to the frame? There’s an important difference from the point exercises: a line can leave the frame. For perpendicular lines this doesn’t seem to disrupt the composition too much, but for perspective lines the eye travels quickly along the diagonal and straight out of the picture. It feels uncomfortable because the eye seems to have no way back into the picture except the point that it started from. So another ‘rule’ of photography is that ‘leading lines’ should lead somewhere within the frame.

Research, concept and execution

In the brief and the project text, references are made on the Bauhaus and specifically László Moholy‐Nagy in his function as a photographer despite the fact that he was more than just that. Starting his early career as a painter, later developed further in experimental film, sculpture, graphic design, typographic design and architecture. He became one of the more important “thinkers” and educators at the Bauhaus.  Moholy-Nagy helped to create the specific Bauhaus typography and logo into the lowercase design as we know it today. For some László Moholy-Nagy was one of the most influential art-thinkers of the first half of the twentieth century.

ILászló Moholy‐Nagy was one of the leading figures in experimentations. His successor Walther Peterhans, known for his detailed preparation, composition and observations, described the work of László Moholy‐Nagy as “Photography with a Hammer” ( Ambler, Frances. 2018).

The Bauhaus itself, being one of the most influential art-educational movements in the 20th century, was not specifically renowned for its photography;

“However, by comparison with schools like the Folkwang Institute in Essen under Max Burchartz (1887–1961), the Stuttgart School of Graphic Arts under Ernst Schneidler, and Hans Finsler‘s school at Burg Giebichenstein, which offered the only curriculum in ‘modern photography’ worthy of the name, the Bauhaus was of secondary importance. Notwithstanding the many experiments in photography and photomontage that took place there and the oeuvre of László Moholy‐Nagy, as a school, it was less influential in this field than in industrial design, art theory, and basic pedagogics.” (Rolf Sachsse). Either way, I find it difficult to follow and develop ideas when references are made to the impressive Bauhaus and one of its biggest creative thinkers therein.

The work of Walker Evans, seen in the book American Photographs, really was inspiring in this exercise, especially his work in Part 2 of the book. You almost sense his compositional patience and accuracy there, without becoming sterile and meaningless.

 

Lines form an important part in graphical compositions and have a strong effect on our perception of depth on a two-dimensional medium. Besides depth, it almost always guides the viewer into a direction or leads him away. Lines can have all kinds of shapes and all will have a function in an image.  Nevertheless, reducing the exercise back to “mortal” proportions, I tried to create a variety of photographs with different lines and effects they have on the perspective and our sense of depth.

 

Leading lines in opposite diagonals force the viewer down on the pavement/tarmac. The diagonal repeating arcs/curves seem to form their own line as a whole and with their smaller growing mutual distance providing an additional sense of depth.

 

The lines formed by the stair-railings next to the door, almost flatten the stairs below completely, pressed flat against the wall.

 

Strong lines everywhere lead towards the light at the end of the tunnel. The contrast between left and right form a strong vertical that almost splits the image into two halves. The rounded-rectangle, providing horizontal lines, seems only to bond the leading lines and connects to the shape of the tunnel exit as repeating form.

 

Line diagonal across the frame, ending either side outside the frame. Does not add depth to the image despite the point of view might suspect that.

 

Strong, multiple lines towards the tower. Provides depth and forces the viewer straight through the centre towards the tower, almost without any attention to the shops and people on either side, perhaps a short hesitation for the few persons in the centre halfway?

 

Lines force the viewer to the centre, outside the gallery, despite the lights and the ceiling are perhaps the most interesting elements, you need to force yourself looking upwards.

 

Mailboxes form a flat and short pattern of horizontal and vertical lines. Almost no sense of depth or direction. The attention is scattered across the frame. Because of the lack of direction the lines become a sort of maze, the viewer can look at the image for a longer period and finds her/his own “route” of interests. Despite lack of direction, the viewer might follow the horizontals in scanning the image.

 

Strong horizontal line and strong perspective lines combined, remind me of a tennis-court. As if the depth only starts above the horizontal line.

 

Bibliography

‌“Bauhaus, Photography and the – Oxford Reference.” Oclc.Org, 27 Sept. 2013, www-oxfordreference-com.ucreative.idm.oclc.org/view/10.1093/acref/9780198662716.001.0001/acref-9780198662716-e-135. Accessed 31 Aug. 2019.

“László Moholy-Nagy.” Bauhaus100.Com, 2016, www.bauhaus100.com/the-bauhaus/people/masters-and-teachers/laszlo-moholy-nagy/. Accessed 3 May 2019.

Siebenbrodt, Michael, and Lutz Schöbe. Bauhaus 1919-1933 : Weimar-Dessau-Berlin. New York, Parkstone Press International, 2009.

Ambler, Frances. The Story of the Bauhaus : The Art and Design School That Changed Everything. London, Ilex, 2018.

Evans, Walker, and Lincoln Kirstein. American Photographs. New York, Ny, Museum Of Modern Art, 2012.