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line, vantage point, perspective … and a foot!

I love roofs.  I often like to sit on mine and ponder the events of the day.  I took this picture not more than five minutes ago.  This is my neighbor’s house (and that is my foot).  This incorporates several concepts from Helmer’s “The Elements of Critical Viewing”.  First, it incorporates line.  My gutter is the predominant line; the roof tiles and the house next to mine have lines all over (door, roof, outer wall, gutter) that form squares and rectangles.  Without these lines, the image would make little sense; there would be no separation of any of the elements.  Secondly, there are the elements of perception and vantage point.  First, perception:  there is depth to this image.  In the foreground, you see my roof (and my foot).  In the background, my neighbor’s house.  Second, vantage point:  I am clearly looking down, giving the viewer a sense of being on my (extremely steep) roof with me.  Perhaps the image does not capture the steepness as well as I’d like, but I feel it is visible to some extent.

Joel Skelton

Comments

Keith
Reply

At first I thought the image was just about vantage point, after looking closer i caught on to the the use of line prior to reading your caption as an initial impression. After reading your caption the image had a softer tone than the strict line imagery and course texture of the roof shingles as you defined it as a place of reflection. Nice use of imagery and meaning.

Larissa
Reply

I like how the photo was taken at the downward angle rather than straight across. Definitely does a better job at capturing the depth. The foot is a perfect addition as well!

Benjamin
Reply

Those elements are important things to consider, you wouldn’t want to ignore how high it is and fall off. yikes be careful!!!!

Joel
Reply

Haha, well thank you for your concern, sir.

Casey
Reply

This is kind of lame, but I am afraid of heights. Just looking at this picture makes me a little nervous (awesome picture though Joel!) I just wanted to point out step 7 in Helmer’s about considering the image’s effect on the viewer. He says that “readers interpret those meanings based on their cultural position and personal experiences.” Since we are all different, it is really interesting to think that my potential interpretation of this photograph’s effect on a viewer could potentially be different from Joel’s simply based on the fact that my personal experiences implicate a fear of heights and his personal experiences implicates no fear of heights!

Joel
Reply

That’s an interesting perspective. In fact, one of my friends visited a building in Chicago called the Willis Tower (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Willis_Tower). The observation deck, the 103rd floor, is transparent. She sat on the deck and took a picture. That picture gave me the creeps because the ant civilization under her was clearly visible. I’m not exactly afraid of heights–I’m more afraid of falling–and I didn’t think of that particular perception while writing my summary of my picture. I think for me, a slanted roof some 30 feet off the ground is less of a “fall-risk” than a picture on the 103rd floor in which the ground is clearly visible (or a roller coaster). Thanks for pointing out that perspective.

Liz
Reply

Looking at this gives me a bit of vertigo, but the angle of the roof against the angle of your neighbor’s house definitely does capture a sense of steepness. Steepness that I surely wouldn’t want to experience firsthand for fear of falling what looks like 3 stories!

Joel
Reply

Good eye. It actually is three stories.

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