The path of the eye through an image

While doing exercise 1.2 on the point and the way the eye moves through an image, I found that in my own point photos my eye would first latch on to the point, then widen the scope of its focus to include neighbouring objects by incremental steps until the whole frame was included. I thought this might have been due to the simplicity of those particular images, so I decided to trace my eye’s movement through some more complex images with more than one focal point. For this I selected images by Henri Cartier-Bresson and Tony Ray Jones.

With these images I found that my focus jumped between parts of the scene, latching onto an object and widening the focus to include neighbouring objects but then moving to a different part of the image and repeating this process before eventually widening the focus to include the whole image.

Tony Ray Jones: Beauty contestants, Southport, Merseyside (1967)

Henri Cartier-Bresson: Women drying saris, Ahmedabad (1966)

I placed a three-row three-column grid over both these images and found that the initial points of focus for the eye in both images lay close to lines and/or intersections of the grid, confirming the powerful attraction of these locations for drawing the eye in.