OhLook wrote in post #16996995
My description was an answer to your request to describe what I see in the composition. I don't know what to say about their importance. Importance would have to be judged with reference to some standard. This image isn't going to alter world affairs in any way.
Well, composition can arguably be broken down into techniques and principles of where the eye is drawn first... etc.
What kinds of importance can lines and curves have?
They can (should? ) be used to emphasize what you're trying to show. But you have to start with intent. I think my main issue is that composition depends on intent.
Are there circumstances in which one says that this shape (the speaker pointing to something) is important and another shape is trivial?
Yes. And there are circumstances where lines are wrong, or lines are right. For example if you want rigid, stable, static, you make straight, edgy, blocky shapes. If you want flexible, flowing, soft, you want curvy lines.
So you can interpret an image when you don't know the intent, but to critique you need to know what they were going for. This way "rules" become objective.
I think the structural features I identified encourage seeing the woman and cat as a harmonious unit. Clearly, they're separate beings, but the formal elements connect them by making them part of a pattern created by lines that fall close together at the top, diverge in the middle, and join at the bottom. The shadow of the arm is a blatant connector, a thick, almost straight line, as if someone had taken a Sharpie and drawn a bar between the two creatures to emphasize that they have something to do with each other. When I imagine the photo with that shadow removed, it becomes less meaningful.
But perhaps no one else sees these relationships. I posted in hopes of finding out what others think about the image. Is it all in my head?
Ok, so if your emphasis is to show the line between the cat and the handwoman, one way to do it is to reduce the contrast on a lot of other lines. Shadow is a contrast between gray and black. Meanwhile there's a lot of lines where the eye is drawn before that, which mute your line out completely: near the crotch, the bumper... the are much stronger centers of interest and your line can't compete with them.