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The Traveling Photographer by Sandra Petrowitz

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6 The Diagonal

Embracing the Slant

The diagonal has a long and honored place in photos. Using the longest length of an image – stretching from one corner across to the opposite one – is a compositional technique that allows photographers to add drive and tension to their pictures and create a marked sense of depth. Roads, paths, and fences are common examples of subjects that lead into a picture. On this double-page spread, it’s a stream in the Wadden Sea. The viewer’s gaze follows the stream, traveling up from the foreground into the background, which almost automatically gives the image a sense of spatial depth.

Not every diagonal line is the same. We associate lines that rise from the lower left to the upper right with energy, movement, ascent, ...

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