Sequence viewing > Aesthetics Index - Resource - © Lloyd Godman

The use of Texture in a photograph

Imagine zooming outwards from a visual pattern - until from a certain distance we start to lose the sense of pattern, some other visual phenomena happens. From here, zoom out further and we begin to perceive the surface as a texture.

In this image we can see how distance plays a part in pattern - texture and surface. The planting of corn marked in red forms a pattern - the area marked in yellow which is further away becomes a texture while the area marked in green where both pattern and texture are diminished is read as a flat surface.

So where we might have perceived a pattern in a piece of cloth, we now see the texture of the material.

In terms of photography, the textural qualities of a material relates to the tooth or depth of the relief inherent in a material and the way the material is lit to reveal the texture.

Various materials have different surfaces which react in quite different ways visually.

Like form, we use light as the key ingredient, both in terms of quality, and direction to describe the texture of a surface. We can either suppress the texture or emphasis enhance it.

In this image we can see where the shadows are the texture is more apparent while in the highlights it tends to dissolve - so relative exposure also plays a role in recording texture.


While it might appear that some surfaces have no texture, in fact if we enlarge any surface up enough - we might need a microscope to achieve this - even the smoothest metal has a texture. So while we need to step back from a pattern to see texture - we also need to step forward to a smooth surface to see its texture.




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