Ian Plant • Visual Flow

How can you transform a viewer from a passive observer of the image into an active participant? Ian Plant has some understandings about composition and visual movement to share

Imagine you are standing in the middle of a small river, gazing downstream. As you survey the scene, you notice that the water flows around, beneath, and past you on its journey into the distant landscape beyond. As the river gets farther away from you, it appears to shrink in size, eventually receding to a single point on the horizon before vanishing from view. Along its way the water rushes over rocks and small drops and curves and turns around successive bends. The flow of the river is irresistible – anything caught in its path is swept along, following every twist and turn, perhaps getting caught for a moment on a rock emerging from the river’s surface, but inevitably transported into the distance.

This effect – this irresistible pull – is precisely what you want to accomplish visually with your photographs. Your goal as a photographer is to engage the viewer’s eye, commanding their attention, leading them deeper and deeper into the scene before them. By doing so, you ...

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About Author

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Ian Plant is a full time professional nature photographer, writer, and adventurer. His work has appeared in numerous magazines, books and calendars, and he is a frequent contributor to Popular Photography and Outdoor Photographer magazines, among others.

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