An Orientation Conundrum

Andrew Beck All Authors, Andrew Leave a Comment

Towards the end of last year I shared a quick screen shot of the same image in two different orientations and asked which you preferred. I got way more comments and thoughts than I had ever imagined and you can check out what people had to say here.

With that in mind I thought i would ask the same question here whilst also sharing my personal thoughts and preferences.

This is the image in its original orientation as shot during a Chobe Photo Safari.

An Orientation Conundrum

The textures and leading lines created by the shadows falling across the bark are what make this image for me. The leading line created by the tail of this water monitor which ultimately leads to the dark hole compliments and flows nicely with the patterns of the bark. In its original orientation the flow of energy is very clearly running from bottom left to top right.

I tried something different and rotated the image by 90 degrees to the right which yields this image.

An Orientation Conundrum-2

It is amazing to see how a simple adjustment to the orientation of an image can have such a dramatic effect on the story. The energy in this frame now runs from the top left to the bottom right with the tail somehow seeming to flow with the lines of the bark more so than in the original orientation.

Which do I prefer?

I somehow gravitate towards the vertical orientation rather than the horizontal orientation.

In the world of graphic design there are a number of principles and layout patterns which are often recommended to take advantage of how people scan or read through a design/page. The most popular of these is the Gutenburg Diagram.

writgutenberg-diagramThe Gutenburg Diagram

The pattern suggests that the eye will sweep across and down the page in a series of horizontal movements called axes of orientation. Each sweep starts a little further from the left edge and moves a little closer to the right edge. The overall movement is for the eye to travel from the primary area to the terminal area and this path is referred to as reading gravity.

Naturally this is for left to right reading languages and would be reversed for right to left reading languages.

Looks familiar right?

Thats because the energy from the vertically orientated image matches this principle to a tee. Not intentional by any means nor does everyone feel the same in terms of which orientation appeals to them most. For me though, this vertical orientation resonates more deeply suggesting that I am in string agreement with the theory behind the Gutenberg Diagram.

 We need to pay attention to the flow created in an image where we have multiple leading lines and consider its impact on the way the image is interpreted by our viewers. In this instance, rotaing the image to 90 dgrees made the image more appealing to me.

An Orientation Conundrum-2

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About The Author

Andrew Beck

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Very few people can tell you what their passion in life is. Even fewer will be able to tell you that what they do for a living is in fact their passion. My love for the bush and conservation took me on journey which would not only allow me to explore the continent which fascinates me so much, but to share my passion for photography and conservation with others. Be sure to check out my my website and instagram account.

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