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The Use of Gestalt in Photography

    Getting the viewer to look into the mirror.

Getting the viewer to look into the mirror.

Gestalt comes from the German/Austrian word meaning shape, form, or the whole by some definitions. It is also stated that Gestalt is the theory that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. When you use the ‘elements’ of visual design in your imagery, you’re basically working with and structuring these ‘parts’ that will eventually make up the whole.

How we perceive and process visual input is a part of our everyday life, and as photographers, it’s our prime objective to present this visual information in a way that takes control of what the viewer sees when they look at our photography. In my online class with the PPSOP, and also my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshop I conduct around the globe, I discuss and demonstrate how the different ‘concepts’ in the theory of Gestalt can help take our imagery “up a notch”.

One of my favorite topics is this famous diagram that shows how we can get the viewer to look where we want him to. When you look at this drawing, where does your eye go? Where do you look first? The large circle or the smaller one that the finger is   pointing to?  Most people will look at the small circle because that’s what we’re conditioned to do.

We look where we’re told to look, and imagine how powerful this ‘concept’ can be when used in our photography. It will definitely help take it “Up a level”.

In our reality, making the mind work harder is not necessarily a good thing, but in photography it is.  By leading the viewer’s eye around our composition they are taking an active role, and when we can accomplish that our images will definitely be stronger. Over the next couple of months, I’ll be discussing the different concepts with you, so stay tuned.

If you’re interested in shooting with me with these concepts in mind, go to my website look at the work at www.joebaraban.com then click on workshop overview.



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