The stories behind the images

The stories behind the images
chairs, rome

Thursday, January 26, 2012

images on an angle - aka "but it's not straight!"

What is your reaction to this image (taken in Ragusa Ibla, Sicily)?

Does this image appeal to you? Or does the angle of the image bother you?

A tilted image can cause strong reactions in people viewing that image.

Having spent many years assuming these reactions were simply a matter of each individual's artistic and personal tastes, during the course of some professional development last year I read a fascinating book - Perception and Imaging, Richard D Zakia - which finally gave me an alternative reason: "Field Dependency".

Quoting from the book:

"Field-dependent persons will feel uncomfortable when something within their visual fields is tilted. The tilt creates a visual tension, a feeling of imbalance. I [the author] am such a person. If I am sitting in a room with a tilted picture on a wall, I either get up and straighten it or look away to avoid my feeling of imbalance."

Field dependency was first researched by Herman Witkin in the 1960's. Witkin built a tilting-room/tilting-chair apparatus - the person in the room is put into a non-upright position and then has to adjust their position by either tilting the room or the chair. Those that tilted the room (their visual field) were termed field dependent. Those that tilted the chair (their gravitational field) were termed field independent.

Perhaps you prefer this image:

We, as photographers, can consciously use the concept of field dependency to create an impact with our images. Looking for some visual tension, or want to stimulate a sense of disequilibrium? Consider turning your camera on an angle...

To find our more about field dependency and the visual process of seeing, our Australian readers can get a copy of Richard D. Zakia's book from Les Harden at Highcove Educational and Photographic Supplies. Click here for the Highcove Facebook Page. Les has an amazing collection of photography books - and if he doesn't have it in stock, he will get it in for you.

Equipment and settings used:
Camera - Canon EOS 7D
Settings - f/5, 1/400s, ISO 200, manual white balance, shot in jpeg
Lens - Canon F-S 17-55mm lens
Focal length: 35mm

Happy Shooting, from Dianne and Lisa at Capture Italy.