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Sunday, November 06, 2005

i'd like to move back into an exploration of rhythm. a couple of posts ago, i tried combining a musical background with aikido movement in an attempt to emphasize rhythm. i'd like to go back to that concept, This time, though i want to start by exploring a visual idea of rhythm.

according to some, visual rhythm can be described in a variety of ways, depending on what's happening with visual patterns, as well as with the flow of how the viewer's eye is drawn across an image. the artlex dictionary defines "visual" rhythm as "movement by the repetition of objects".

here's an example. this photograph is of a white picket fence somewhere here in austin, and was taken on a sunny afternoon.

picture of a picket fence, emphasizing repetition

i pulled this photo from my collection in an attempt to illustrate the idea of "progressive rhythm"--which basically means that the shape & size of the pickets in the fence appear to decrease from the left edge of the photo to the right edge. See another definition at

the alternating light & dark areas of the photo also indicate a rhythm type of visual rhythm.

this next shot of the fence was taken with another "perspective" in mind.

slanted perspective of the same fence, emphasizing a visual "line"
although i didn't know what it was called at the time, i liked this shot because the wide, dark line in the middle of the photo drew my eye from the left edge to the right, in an arc. i think this is what people call "linear rhythm".

another visual design course (this one @ cornell) defines linear rhythm as the "characteristic flow of the individual line" why talk about visual rhythm?

because visual rhythm is akin to musical rhythm

...musical rhythm is akin to physical movement

...and we can observe physical movement through visual rhythm.


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