The etymology of ‘texture’ highlights the word’s connection to making and composition, in both literal and figurative senses.1 In its Latin roots, the literal meaning ‘to weave’ evokes the material construction of fabric, involving interrelationship of warp and weft. Figurative meanings include to devise and to contrive, linking texture to composition in the literary sense: tissue, texture, style. Definitions available in the Oxford English Dictionary expand understanding of texture beyond processes of creation — the weaving of cloth, a web or a narrative2 — to a more definite relationship between the nature of a composition (its form or style) and meaning. Texture is a result of contact between warp and weft and the material used, decisions which affect the outcome of cloth in feel and function; thick, thin, fragile, sturdy and so on. This connection is made in relation to material items, the character of fabric as resulting from its making, and immaterial things, nature or quality as resulting from composition, temperament, character. Cathryn Vasseleu observes that ‘texture is at once the cloth, threads, knots, weave, detailed surface, material, matrix and frame’ (1998: 11–12), the implication being that attention to texture comprises fine detail (cloth, threads, knots, detailed surface) and the total composition (material, matrix and frame). At its core, texture offers a way of acknowledging the importance of minute compositional decisions to our responsiveness to a film and how these contribute to its patterns and overall shape.
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- Introducing Texture in Film
Lucy Fife Donaldson
- Palgrave Macmillan UK