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Seville, SpainMany buildings and structures, though not all, tend to feature lots of vertical and horizontal lines and rectilinear angles. Straight shots of upright buildings may be graphic and aesthetically pleasing, but they are certainly not dynamic. It is therefore a challenge for a photographer to introduce dynamism and movement into architectural images by using any available curving lines and shadows as creatively as possible.

Until quite recently all building exhibited quite a bit of symmetry an pictures were generally framed around a point of balance. However, in recent years building that are far from symmetrical have started to appear in cities all over the world. Some lean intentionally in a particular direction, and others twist or turn as they climb into the sky. Almost any shape now seems possible to achieve.

Disney Concert Hall - public domain image by Jon Sullivan
Architecture buildings Disney concert halls by Jon Sullivan.

Postmodernist architects rejected straight lines and rigid angular forms because they saw them as incompatible with the free-flowing curved lines and forms of both nature and the human body. Curvilinear surfaces now often feature in architectural design and are claimed to have a positive effect on human emotions. Many asymmetrical and curved buildings have made big impacts and become extremely well liked. Sydney's famous Opera House is a good example of what can be achieved when the norms of construction and sterile straight lines are abandoned.

However, photographers must photograph what architects design and construction teams build, and most structures do not feature the generous curves of those seen on this page. The challenge is therefore to find a way of using the non-linear shapes that do exist, if only as a consequence of colour or light and shadow, to break free of rigid compositions. At least look for curving roadways and paths, the edges of flower beds and shadows cast on the ground.


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