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The Use of Gestalt in Photography

The Use of Gestalt in Photography: Similarity

A sense of rhythm and harmony.

A sense of rhythm and harmony.

The psychology of Gestalt has been around since the 1920’s and was founded by a group of German psychologists. I started reading about it several years ago and began applying these six different concepts to the way I was approaching the way I took photos.

It’s all about managing what the viewer perceives and processes when looking at the visual information we lay out to him in the form of a photograph. Visual input is a part of our everyday lives, and it’s our objective to present this information in a way that will keep the viewer around longer…looking at our photos. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I like it when people look at my images for a long time.

Besides the part I and II classes I teach online with the BPSOP, relating to the elements of visual design, I now teach my fellow photographers how to incorporate these six concepts in a class strictly on gestalt. These are also areas I talk about in my “Stretching Your Frame of mind” workshops I conduct around our planet.

One of these concepts is called Similarity.

Similarity is perhaps the easiest of all the concepts to recognize and therefore explaining it without going into too much detail.

Similarity occurs when forms, colors, sizes, and objects look enough alike to be perceived s a group or pattern in the viewer’s mind. All these different elements, when occurring in your photos, give a sense of rhythm and will connote harmony.

The viewer loves to see photos that are designed with a variety of colors, shapes, and forms, and when the viewer sees these similar characteristics, he’ll perceive the elements as being related due to the shared characteristics.

Here’s a few examples of what I mean:

Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and check out my 2016 workshop schedule at the top of this blog. Come shoot with me sometime. The end of July marks my twenty-eight year at the Maine Media workshops. It’s a wonderful way to immerse yourself for a week and think about nothing but photography. It’s the same week as the Lobster Festival down the road in Rockland, and offers a completely different set of photo ops than the beautiful Maine coastline, amazing lighthouses, and quaint fishing villages. The full description is at the top of this blog.

I have added a new workshop to my 2016 schedule. On September 21st, ten photographers will get together with me at my evening “meet and greet” to begin a fantastic five-day workshop in New York, New York. Check out my description at the top of this blog. Come shoot with me.

The Los Angeles Center for photography has invited me to come out and conduct a three day intensive workshop over the July 15th weekend. I’ll be making a presentation of my work on Thursday July 14th and the public is invited. The full description can be see at the top of this blog, with a link to the site. I hope to spend the weekend with all of you.

Keep sending in photos and questions to: AskJoeB@gmail.com, and I’ll create  video critique for you.


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