A Cat's Tail | Critique Series

#voice #visualintent #movement #impliedmotion #project52

Today's image comes from the wonderful Melissa Rowley Photography


There are a couple of things I really like about this image: the swish of the cat's tail has a fabulous sense of gesture to it, the light trickling through the window adds depth, both to the background and the cat's tail. And it overall has such a great sense of being such an ordinary moment captured in an extraordinary way.

The strong horizontal lines of the floorboard in the background add a sense of foundation to this image, particularly because they are so low in the frame, giving them a solid, weighted feeling. The vertical lines of the chair on the left side of the frame create a sense of barrier on that side, pushing my eye quicker through the left to right read of the image. I think that from a purely compositional rather than style choice, it would be a stronger image without those legs included because they don't particularly add anything to the context of this moment. But, keeping in mind that this photographer has a more documentary feel to her work, so moving the chair wouldn't have felt right to her, I can see why she made the choice to include them the way she did. And, they do provide a nice bit of static balance to the cat's form.

The slight diagonal lines from the light and shadows on the floor add the perfect amount of depth to this image, allowing the distance between the cat and the wall to feel true to life, rather than that flattened feeling a lot of photographs can have. The curve of her tail is the perfect sassy element amongst an otherwise structured frame, and make me think of how cats always seem to be doing their own thing.

I love how the cats halfway out of the frame, moving to the right. That choice also communicates the sass she has, but since she's moving in the same direction we tend to read images (left to right, like words on a page), even though her tail is all sass, her movement feels contented and cooperative.

Thank you for sharing your work with us, Melissa!

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Kate DensmoreComment