Simon Lewis

OCA Learning Log


Golden Sections

The Parthenon in Athens. Subdivisions of a rectangle align perfectly with the major architectural features of the structure.

Seurat, Georges Pierre (1884) Bathers at Asnieres. [oil on canvas] National Gallery, London, UK Gallery Available from: [AccessedSep. 2012].
Seurat ‘Bathers at Asnieres’ has obvious golden subdivisions. Apparently he ‘attacked every canvas by the golden section’.

Anon, n.d., s.l. Digital Camera Magazine, 2011.
A nicely composed image borrowed from the pages of Digital Camera magazine.

People & Poses

American Photographer, (20th century) (1968). Pancho Villa played by Yul Brynner in the film "Villa Rides". BW photo. Private collection, America. Available from: [Accessed Sep. 2012]

Yul Brynner photographed from below. The hint of saddle and reins implies he’s on a horse which supports the up-tilted camera angle.) Strong shoulders, fierce eyes, bandolier and hand on gun all tell one story: a tough guy on a mission. The background is indistinct and irrelevant - the whole message here is about the character and personality. Light and shadow fall across his face to illuminate the strong features.

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Unknown, (20th century) (1927). Liselotte Billighemeir. BW photo. Israel Museum, Jerusalem. Available from: [Accessed Sep. 2012]

Liselotte Billigheimer in portrait. Taken from above and tilted down, here is a composition where the subject is looking along the line of her shoulder out of frame. We do not know what she is looking at. Is that important? Not here as we have enough other information to help us interpret the image. Her gaze, her shoulder line and jaw all seem to converge off camera. I suggest that it’s these implied lines which help us accept unseen subject of her gaze. Notably it is only the subject’s head which is in focus. Everything else is fairly blurred. Billigheimer’s face is emphasised by the rounded jaw and this is echoed in her necklace and crossed arms below. The shape of her lower face is mirrored by her hairline above.

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Unknown. A portrait of the actor Bob Hope. B&W image. Available from: [Accessed Sep. 2012].

Bob Hope. This press image is full of implied triangles and diagonals. With his chin resting on his hands, strong lines are drawn up Hope’s arms. His face has the shape of an inverted triangle and this is emphasised by his arched eyebrows extending down either side of his nose. All combine to draw focus to the lower part of his face. This is all enhanced by a nondescript background and light jacket. All real detail in this image comes from skin tones.

Anon, n.d., s.l. s.l., n.k. B&W image
In this unknown model I first thought there is way too much shoulder. However thinking further I realised the shape of her shoulder matches her face to provide a nice line of symmetry along the horizontal mid-point of the frame. The background is nicely blurred adding emphasis to the model. A series of implied curves lead up the models back and neck leading towards her eyes and mouth. Even though the principal light source seems to come from camera left, there is enough detail to the right of her face (her left) for us to clearly see her full face. The deep shadow below her chin adds depth.

Thoughts on illustration & narrative

Times Ass2
c. The Times newspaper

A story on NHS reform in The Times shows how a picture really can be worth 1000 words. Here we see a fascinating juxtaposition of movement and stillness in one image. Blurred nursing staff appear rushed off their feet with no time to stop - even to care for patients - yet the attending doctor seems statue like in comparison. The image here implies how the doctor will take all the time necessary for the patient even if the nurses cannot.