What is important in a picture?
There are probably millions of ways to make an image, thousands of ways to make a good picture, and hundreds of ways to make a picture that catches.
An image of a lifeless boy on a beach in Greece turns millions of people’s opinion when it visualises and embodies the abstract texts that were written and discussed for months before.
I think that an image with a strong message can stand out over a stylish and well thought-out composition. But if both factors are at work, the expression of the picture is more powerful.
An excellent composition helps to organise the picture and make it easier to interpret and understand – and good composition makes the picture more interesting and exciting.
Sunset at Skagen – heat-maps showing what some people look at in a picture, more about these pictures here.
Image composition quickly becomes complicated, and to refer to individual rules that explain why a picture is good or less good, is not always convincing in my mind.
Even a clear and simple images usually contain several elements that create balance and tension in the picture, or the beholder.
This site doesn’t give concrete solutions, but approaches and techniques are discussed. By showing practical examples, with analyses or modifications to the appearance so that it might be easier to see what controls and influences image some situations.
In addition to various manipulation in my pictures, I use eye-tracking to try to explore the effects of image composition. These experiments take place at an amateur level, and the circumstances of my experiments are not scientific but are contributing primarily to reflections on the picture composition.
I have extensive experience in image production and have in recent years also been involved in research projects on image perception and image properties.
The aim is to convey how simple means can make positive changes in a given image, and think differently in future situations.
To a large extent, pictures speak directly to our subconscious. The field of perception psychology is devoted to exploring how we perceive and process information from our senses.
A few articles are based on professional research on perception psychology, amongst other the project Paper sense. The articles are written in a simple manner in an attempt, from my point of view, to highlight the most interesting aspects of the research and results.
In my eye-tracking experiments, I mostly use people who are uninterested in pictures, which I think gives interesting insights and interpretations.
Pictures from the research project Papersense, test pictures from the IKEA catalog, 2009. Original pictures copyright Inter IKEA Systems B.V.
Eye-tracking is used to measure the amount attention when viewing a picture, and to visualize which of the areas in a picture captures our attention.
The combination of picture composition and eye-tracking is a highly interesting combination.
( More about eye-tracking … (under menue “Home/ What is eye-tracking?”) )