Simply put, it is a line that isn’t actually there but the imagination is triggered into ‘seeing’ a line or a natural continuation of a line. This can help compositionally to give a sense of movement and flow.
“Implied lines are lines that are not necessarily drawn in an image, but are lines created by values, colors(sic), textures or shapes that guide the eye though(sic) the piece of artwork.”
(The above definition found on http://www.creativeglossary.com/art-mediums/implied-lines.html – accessed 05/11/2o13)
Micha Bar Am – Magnum
I have, again, looked through some Magnum images. One compelling image is within a collection of The Yom Kippur War in North Sinai. (Soldiers on the way to Budapest stronghold)
We can see that an implied line runs from the eye line of the soldier in the foreground that then draws our eye to back ground soldier on camera right. The forward pointing weapons created more implied lines that take our eye left across the direction of troops in the background.
Chris Steele – Magnum.
Moving over to my Magnum book I found more people images where implied lines work differently. On page 502, an image by Chris Steele – Perkins shows a scene of displaced families in a settlement in Angola. Here an implied line follows, in full circle, the heads and tree line through the fore, middle and background. This also demonstrates Gestalt laws of proximity, closure and similarity. (Phew, I think the penny has dropped on Gestalt!)
Ref: MAGNUM (2012). MAGNUM. 4th ed. London: Thames&Hudson. 502.
Henry Grant – London Street Photography
On page 63 of London Street Photographer, an image by Henry Grant, shows a chaotic image of a lady feeding pigeons’ on Trafalgar Square. I picked this image because the chaotic nature makes identifying the implied lines harder to analyse. In this very different image to the Chris Steele image above, the same laws of Gestalt apply as do the implied lines. The pigeons’ that have broken away into flight form implied lines that encircle and frame the central figure. There are other pigeons that don’t form the implied circular line but other implied lines form from feathers and lines of sight are also present that point into the central figure
Ref: (Seaborne, M & Sparham, A (2012). London Street Photography. 2nd ed. Stockport: Dewi Lewis Publishing/ Museum of London. 63.)
1. MAGNUM (2012). MAGNUM. 4th ed. London: Thames&Hudson. 502.
2.(Seaborne, M & Sparham, A (2012). London Street Photography. 2nd ed. Stockport: Dewi Lewis Publishing/ Museum of London. 63.)
1.http://www.magnumphotos.com/C.aspx?VP3=CMS3&VF=MAGO31_4&VBID=2K1HZOQ8FOAGX4&IID=24PV7CL_Y&PN=3 – accessed 05/11/2013.