Howard Schatz, photographer
Trumpet vine leaf

"Botanica is a (book) of 113 photographs, from the exotic to the familiar, flowers have never looked quite like this before."
in Communication Arts Aug/08, p36

Howard Schatz: Home Page | GoogleImages | PDNGallery |

UnityDescribe the forms that contribute to the unity of this composition.

(look for elements and traits that repeatedly appear)
Color is quite limited here. The blue (and sometimes BV) dominates, with intense red and black -- very few colors.

The image is a tangle of branching lines — the veins of the leaf spread out, branching from the center of the leaf, on the right-center of the photo. Veins — lines — taper and curve. Most lines are nearly straight with curves near the end. The lines are not gracefully distributed, but are somewhat irregular and tangled. The outer edge of the leaf also has an irregular, torn but undulating sort of edge, not unlike the veins, but more aggressive.

The entire image, and the lines/veins converge at a single point — at the stem of the leaf. Everything radiates from that single point.

(look for alignments, structures or groupings that organize parts into larger entities (gestalt))

Impact Concept — How does this piece aim to get the viewer's attention?

The mystery of the identity of the object is a prime attraction. Intense color and bold pattern unlike anything in everyday experience grab our attention. The subject is not immediatly clear — not even the scale is clear. You can be sure if you're looking at some sort of microscopic organism, or a creature from deep in the ocean, or some sort of huge, tangled parachute.

VarietyDescribe the forms that contribute to the variety and dynamism of this painting.

(look for contrast of any and every kind. Look especially for similar forms that are varied in some way. Look for anomalies — patterns or norms that are broken.)

Line and contour are quite varied. Though the basic pattern of the veins is apparent, the twists and rolls and clumps offer many variations on the basic vein pattern. It is as though the ordering of the vein pattern competes with, and contrasts with the disorder of the wrinkles and folds.

The boldly contrasting colors are graphically potent. Intense red, rich light blue, stark black as well as patches of violet and of near-white provide ample color variety and contrast.


Focal AreasWhat areas are focal areas?
Describe the forms that contribute to their graphic emphasis?

The areas where the veins converge is the main focal area. All other areas effectively build up to that area.

Several outer areas have clusters of red that offer secondary areas of interest.

Relief Areas

The clear relief areas are the solid black peripheral areas.

Much of the blue is calmer than the main web of red. The blue areas have fine, delicate details (thin lines and limited value contrast) that are first relief, but gradually draw attention to the fine vein pattern.