At the heart of any great photograph is the creative use of visual elements known as the Elements of Art. The primary ones are line, color, texture, shape and space.

While these terms may seem like a lesson from middle school art class, they are an important part of the images we see every day, from online advertising to the most carefully composed photograph. How do they play out in photographs? Check out this short video exploring each element through selections from MOPA’s collection:

These elements provide a vocabulary to talk about images, guide the way we look at them, and can even be used creatively in your own photography.

What’s your favorite element? Post your best shot and give us a shout @mopasd


Financial support is provided by the Gould Family Foundation and the City of San Diego.

For sponsorship or underwriting opportunities contact a member of the Development Team at or 619-238-7559 x300.