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Author Topic: Is there a psychology of photographs?  (Read 5317 times)
panoman
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« on: December 01, 2010, 02:29:47 PM »
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I have come to believe that when people look at a "normal" photo, covering a field of view of less than 90 degrees, some part of them knows that there is something missing. At the other end of the spectrum, when looking at panoramas of more than 180 degrees there is an uncomfortable feeling that "this isn't quite right". Our normal field of view is about 180 degrees with only 120 being used for detail.The excess is for motion detection. I find myself increasingly shooting panoramas that span a field of 90 degrees vertical by 120 horizontal. They also fit computer screens, books, and other media better than extreme panoramas.
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NikoJorj
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« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2010, 02:37:04 PM »
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At the other end of the spectrum, when looking at panoramas of more than 180 degrees there is an uncomfortable feeling that "this isn't quite right".
These ones (past 120, which for me is the limit of peripheral motion detection) should be mounted cylindrically to restitute their wideness correctly around (and not in front of) the viewer, indeed...
OTOH, a photograph does not necessarily hasve Embarrassed to depict "correctly" the world. Does it?
« Last Edit: December 02, 2010, 06:03:07 AM by NikoJorj » Logged

Nicolas from Grenoble
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panoman
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« Reply #2 on: December 01, 2010, 02:44:30 PM »
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There is no question that one of the roles of art is to present alternate perspectives, but my question was Aren't we hardwired to prefer images with the same, comfortable field of view that we normaly see? And if this is a fact, then why are so many photos not in this range?
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fredjeang
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« Reply #3 on: December 03, 2010, 05:14:13 PM »
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Hi,

You can't take for separate a physiology fact from the brain conditionning, (and in the human mind the conditionning is really strong) wich means cultural codes and heritages (cultural training).
Formats have been determined for generations and generations in the human imagery and proportions as well as isolating a particular aim leads to reduced the format. It is extremely difficult to compose very well in panorama. Most of the panaramas that are displayed are generally landscapes that have more to do with a geographic study or arquitecture for commercial or tech needs. In fine arts, and specially in painting, that's another story. Our eyes are trained with magazines, screens, books, paintings etc...would you find natural to read a book in a pano format?

IMO.
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Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #4 on: December 03, 2010, 06:07:09 PM »
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... Aren't we hardwired to prefer images with the same, comfortable field of view that we normaly see?...

Already in 18th century, painting textbooks advised to go for a view that could be taken in without "turning the head". I guess that concurs with your observations.
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Rob C
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« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2010, 03:29:26 AM »
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Interesting idea; however, in my personal tastes department, I think I tend to be more attracted to the longer focus type of shot, especially with limited depth of field. In essence, I go for blurred foregrounds, backlighting, and all those sorts of effects that are generally lost in normal life experience unless you really are aware of, or look for it.

Maybe I always wanted to be a cover pic photographer. What happened?

Rob C
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fredjeang
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« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2010, 03:56:36 AM »
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Yes, if you have a pano proportion you have to move the neck. The fact that our vision is capable of covering a certain angle has nothing to do with imagery but surviving. The machine needs to be able to "see" (in fact perceive) hostile elements. It is interesting to note that predators like lions, tigers etc...have a narrow field, like Rob's tele. (so Rob has a predator soul Grin), while the victims: zebras, antilopes etc...have a super wide angle for obvious reasons.
Now, when the vision has to concentrate on a surface, like it is the case when watching an image, we use a reduced part of that vision. Our angle cover is a remanent of our surviving condition.

Psychologicaly, if you are photographed in the street by someone who uses a tele, you feel agressed. Much less if the person uses a wide angle. Narrow angle has relation with "killing", spoting, isolating, robbing.

So yes, there is a psychology involved, the human being the only alive being on this planet who suffers psychological disfunctions like fear of getting older, superstitions etc...your dog does not care what kind of optics are you using to take a picture, it cares even less being photographed. One day I went to have my coffee in a bar and had my equipment. A guy went to me saying that he thought that photographs rob the soul... when I asked him what soul is, he was very embarassed not being able to answer.
« Last Edit: December 04, 2010, 04:18:54 AM by fredjeang » Logged
Rob C
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« Reply #7 on: December 04, 2010, 09:27:41 AM »
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The machine needs to be able to "see" (in fact perceive) hostile elements. It is interesting to note that predators like lions, tigers etc...have a narrow field, like Rob's tele. (so Rob has a predator soul Grin), while the victims: zebras, antilopes etc...have a super wide angle for obvious reasons.




Quite close, Fred, at least 50%, but the missing 50% you were too kind to mention is the victim body. All that in one person; no wonder I became a photographer - what else could I do?

Rob C
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RFPhotography
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« Reply #8 on: December 04, 2010, 10:56:29 AM »
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Why limit it to photography?  Isn't the same true of many art forms?  Ever seen one of Monet's monster canvases?

Back to photography though, isn't the 'psychology of framing' part of the exercise?  Isn't the creative use of focal length, isolation, focusing attention, distortion, depth of field all part of the telling of the story?
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kikashi
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« Reply #9 on: December 04, 2010, 01:09:03 PM »
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OTOH, a photograph does not necessarily hasve Embarrassed to depict "correctly" the world. Does it?
Those of us keen on b&w would have awful problems if it did!

Jeremy
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theBike45
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« Reply #10 on: November 27, 2011, 05:50:29 PM »
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 Professional psychologists (at least those who are honest) would never attempt to
make claims as have been made here. Certainly a camera is a poor excuse for the human eye,
so there are in fact no photos that look like what we saw when taking them. Just look at a photo of a person
in the midst of a change of expression to see just how completely different we and the camera really are.
 And we are not "trained" on how to look at photos by looking at National Geographic, etc. - they are simply
examples of what we are likely to see for the next 60 years. If there were a distinctly "best" way to photograph
a landscape, it would have been recognized about 10 billion photos ago, and the technique would be written
gospel in every photog book. The subject comprises 99% of a good photograph anyway. The best photographers
are those who select the most appealing light, shading and subject matter and orientation toward that subject
matter. Superior technical knowledge of photography I consider worth knowing but of little value in taking a good
photograph.
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Photo Op
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« Reply #11 on: November 27, 2011, 08:02:52 PM »
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Do you plan on commenting on every 12 month old thread?
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David
Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #12 on: November 27, 2011, 08:07:27 PM »
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Do you plan on commenting on every 12 month old thread?

Hehe... reminds me of the Geico commercial: "... Hey Rick, check this out"... you know, about two guys living under a rock Wink
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Slobodan

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Rob C
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« Reply #13 on: November 28, 2011, 02:59:54 AM »
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Hehe... reminds me of the Geico commercial: "... Hey Rick, check this out"... you know, about two guys living under a rock Wink


So Rip Van Winkle lives!

Rob C
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Ray
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« Reply #14 on: November 28, 2011, 06:38:08 PM »
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Back to photography though, isn't the 'psychology of framing' part of the exercise?  Isn't the creative use of focal length, isolation, focusing attention, distortion, depth of field all part of the telling of the story?

I think Bob is on the right track here. The size of the print and the distance of the viewer are very significant factors in determining what looks natural in a photograph.

Whether the scene is a wide panorama produced by stitching several images, or the result of a single shot taken with a wide-angle lens or even standard lens,the sense of perspective in the photo can always be distorted by print size in relation to viewer distance.

In other words, if the original scene required the photographer or viewer to turn his head in order to focus on the entire scene from left to right, then in order to portray on a print that same perspective, the print on the wall should be sufficiently large, and the viewer sufficiently close, so that the viewer has to turn his head from side to side in order to focus on all that's depicted in the print, or at least move his eyeballs from one extreme to the other.

I'm reminded of the first panoramic stitch I ever attempted, in the days when I was still using a film SLR and scanning my own negatives. It consisted of 13 shots, with camera held vertical.

The lens I used was 300mm and the final width of the stitch I estimate would have been equivalent to a single shot using a camera with a 10 inch wide negative or plate; in other words, an 8"x10" field camera.

I remember being particularly pleased because I had achieved a result using a consumer SLR which I was convinced was sharper than a single shot from a professional 8x10 field camera, cropped to the same proportions; the point being that a standard lens on an 8x10" is 320mm and I had used a 300mm lens only marginally wider, but definitely sharper than any standard lens for the 8x10" format as a result of the smaller image circle required for a 35mm format lens.

The first print I made, using roll paper on my A3+ format Epson 1200 printer, was approximately 8ft x 1ft.

From a viewing distance sufficiently close to see reasonably clear detail, it was necessary to turn one's head from left to right in order to focus on each part of the scene depicted on the print, just as it was in in real life when the scene was shot.

No psychological problems at all.  Grin
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