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‘Continuance’, One of the Concepts in the Theory of Gestalt in Photography

Leading the viewer up the steps.

Leading the viewer up the steps.

According to the principal of Gestalt, the objective in our photography is to control what the viewer sees. We want to lead him around our composition and while doing so he’ll become an active participant. Making people work harder is not necessarily a good thing, but in photography it is. The more he works by discovering new things in our photos, the longer he’ll stick around.

That’s just what we want him to do.

One of the concepts of Gestalt is called Continuance, and in my online class with the PPSOP, and with my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshop I teach around the globe, we go into detail, both in discussion and in practice. The viewer will have an instinctive tendency to follow a path, or a river, a fence line, roads, tree line, steps, railroad tracks, etc. These compositional elements are very important as they provide a way for the viewer to travel around our frame, and if these elements leave the frame all the better. We want to give the viewer multiple ways to leave and enter our frame.

The viewer will also want to know what someone is either looking at or pointing at in our pictures, especially if they’re looking or pointing out of the frame.

When I was younger, my friend and I would go to a shopping mall and stand right in the middle of a busy area, and after a few minutes, we would point up to the ceiling. We weren’t pointing at anything, but it didn’t take long for people to stop and look up at what we were pointing at.

It was Gestalt in action only at thirteen we didn’t know it at the time. I’m not sure we knew it at twenty-one either…or for that matter thirty-five!!! Now that I get Social Security, I thought it was a good time to stop doing that!!!



Here’s a few example of Continuance in photography”

Check out my website at www.joebaraban.com, then come shoot with me sometime!!

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