What have diagonal lines ever done for me?

That is the question posed by Patti, for this week’s Lens Artists’ Challenge #228. Well, not done for me exactly, but done for my photos. Have a photos diagonal lines invited us in, encouraged us to explore the picture, or to focus on some detail?

Let’s have a look, and have a bit of a trip out too.

We’ll start off close to home, one cold wintry morning as I went to get the paper. Those rays of sunshine enlivened the scene, and my mood.

Here are two more, from just down the road. A tree which instead of reaching skywards, leans across the woods to demand a place centre-stage for the whole shot. And ox-eye daisies splicing the image in half, showing us there’s countryside, not a garden beyond.

A trip to the seaside? Alnmouth in Northumbria?

This quiet beach looks dramatic when the tide’s out.

Brussels now. A bank of plate glass windows reflects the opposite side of the road to dramatic effect. Monochrome too, for Bren’s Mid-Week Monochrome.

Off to Spain now. All those dizzy hairpin bends in Cantabria invite us to explore.

Then two more scenes – one from Cádiz, the other from Valencia. Those diagonals pull us in to explore the cathedral in one, the reflections in the other.

This shot, from Alicante, uses the ropes on a yacht as a frame for the scene beyond.


I’ve hesitated over whether to include this last shot in what is essentially a light-hearted post. But this photo – not a particularly original one as so many others have taken similar shots – has stayed with me. It’s Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp in Poland. These are the railway lines that brought so many thousands of Jews on their very last journey. I wrote about it here.

I decided on balance to include it, as the relative optimism I felt when I wrote that post five years ago has disappeared in the light of world events over the last couple of years: and we shouldn’t forget.

Author: margaret21

I'm retired and living in North Yorkshire, where I walk as often as I can, write, volunteer, and travel as often as I can.

62 thoughts on “What have diagonal lines ever done for me?”

  1. Great images Margaret… love the black and white one… and the reflection. The last image reflects how cruel and murderous mankind can be. Those train tracks are haunting. A time which should be taught in all schools… so that we never go back to those terms.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. That is good… educating children about the atrocities that happened in these camps, and why we should never allow it to happen again is a good thing.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Well, my snapshotist friend, you have found some great diagonals! Love your tree in the second image, the rippled sand at Alnwick and those Spanish images…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Those rays between the trees… a stunning picture.

    I would haven’t included the last photo, not that it isn’t a great example of using diagonals, but because of where it is and what it represents. But it’s your post not mine.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I did hesitate. But on the other hand, perhaps we can’t be reminded too often of how dislike of ‘the other’ can so easily get the upper hand and turn nasty.


  4. I think you were absolutely right to include and indeed end with the Auschwitz-Birkenau photo. Diagonal lines not only draw one’s eye, but can add a driving intensity to an image. Your sequence is engaging as it offers a range of diagonals, natural or man-made, colourful or monochrome and uplifting or sorrowful. Most of us do not like it, but, sadly and distressingly, our world generates horror as well as beauty as you remind us.


    1. Indeed. And I do find the world has become more uncomfortable in the five years since my visit. Hatred of difference seems to have been legitimised by the likes of Trump, and sadly he’s not a lone voice.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Fantastic post Margaret! You’ve captured the variety of impacts that diagonals can bring to a shot perfectly. That road in Cantabria looks amazing, and I love the reflections in Valencia and the sun rays near your home. The latter are quite a contrast to that final image, aren’t they? You were right to include that – there’s never a bad time to remind us all of those horrors. Have you seen the recent BBC series with Simon Sharma, exploring the role that artists have had on challenging discrimination, war etc? He shares the concern many of us have about the impact of Trump and his like have had, seeming to turn the clock back.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. What a fine set of diagonals, Margaret. The sun through the trees is pure magic, but each one is enlivening in its own particular way. And that last shot: we would do well to bear it in mind.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I went back to read your Auschwitz post. I haven’t been there but we visited Dachau about 30 years ago to similar effect, and actually met a survivor. Sobering to say the least, and I agree that we appear to be going backwards with some very harmful views becoming more common.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I am around! I am revisiting each one of my blogs as I begin 2023. Right now, I’m at the National Gallery with their series on Gold at Christmas. I watch this series every December and am now sharing it on ChasingART. Thank you for connecting Margaret – very much appreciated.


  8. Hi, Margaret. Thanks for reminding us of the beauty in the world (those rays of light) and its ugliness (Auschwitz). This is a very powerful reminder and a beautiful post.


  9. Margaret, your post was profoundly affecting for me. Your marvelous images leading us to your powerful conclusion is one of the best examples I’ve seen of the impact we can have with photography. One simple image followed by your statement about a change of heart – how very, very sad. Unfortunately I agree with you about the world’s changes. We can only hope for positive change as more of us recognize it, and share our commitment to be part of the change we need to support.


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