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Old 11-28-2006, 12:44 PM   #1
George
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Default Effective Images

About a month ago I bought a picture off e-bay for $9 with shipping, merely to fit a frame I already had, that I thought played very nicely with the bannister. It's of Confederate soldiers riding through the woods in a creek. Ok, so last night I lie down in bed and close my eyes, and what do I see?? Yes, the soldiers, the entire picture, so vivid. That's never happened to me before with any picture, and I look at and hang a lot of them.

Hmm, how is it some images have such a powerful affect?? I've learned through time that how much I spend on art has nothing to do with the power of the image.

It seems to me that when images are selected, the primary consideration should be -- but what is the power of the visual affect, without respect to precise principles of graphic design?? The image should be tested on average viewers, not necessarily to see how well it is made, but what affect it has on them. Never mind that such affect can't actually be explained, but just see if there is one, and how sharp is it. In reality, actual experience ultimately takes precedence over many aspects of design. When the power is there, don't turn from it based on some asthetic principle.

Yes, I read the thread on "affect/effect." But I think in this case it's actually a thin line. There wasn't a thread on "precedence."

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Old 11-28-2006, 02:11 PM   #2
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george: It seems to me that when images are selected, the primary consideration should be
Selected by whom and for what???

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Old 11-28-2006, 05:15 PM   #3
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Selected by whom and for what???

Terrie
Uh-oh. This response is a real indication I'm not expressing myself very well. Internet forums are like that.

Actually, I had in mind a web site, selected by the designer, (but it could be anything, like something printed, say for an advertisement, but not an illustration). Let's say an image is on the homepage to increase interest -- that could be an example.

I hope I'm clarifying myself now.

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Old 11-29-2006, 12:05 AM   #4
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George,

In these days of digital photography where anyone who can afford a few hundred dollars can take technically competent images and print them to high standards, I think it is arguable that the content of an image is now due even more attention than it got in the past.

I've always thought that the subject and the way it was depicted is more important than the technique used: it's only when the technique is getting in the way of the subject that most people notice it anyway. (I get fed up if people admire one of my photos then say "You must have a good camera" - hmph. It's my eye and brain that put the most into the result!)

The impact (not affect) of a picture should be tested on the intended audience. So, as you say, something that grabs the average Joe will most likely work best on a general market website, whereas some conceptual art thought highly of by art critics will probably bomb.

So, I guess I'm agreeing with most of your post. I would pick you up on the thing about principles though: most successful images work not only because of the subject, but also the way the artist has chosen to arrange it. Your image might not be as successful if the horses' noses were cut off by the frame, or if the picture was of a row of horses' bottoms and men's backs, I imagine! (That's a trite example, but you get the idea?)
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Old 11-29-2006, 07:15 AM   #5
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Lois,

Yes, "impact" is the better word, and I do not mean to disparage asthetic principles but to set them in proper priority when the need arises.

Images are our way of communicating through associative thinking, and we have to be aware of that, because it's constantly going on. Our dreams remind us that our brains are always still using associative thinking, but there are many everyday examples actually. Setting aside psychological theories, I think when we easily understand dreams, we have learned how images work in communication. But still, there is always that mystery element that contributes to the powerful impact.

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Old 11-29-2006, 11:48 AM   #6
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george: Actually, I had in mind a web site, selected by the designer, (but it could be anything, like something printed, say for an advertisement, but not an illustration).
Ahhh...ok...I thought that's what you meant but then decided to ask and make sure...'-}}

After reading Lois' post, I think she said what I was thinking better than I could particularly:

Quote:
lois: most successful images work not only because of the subject, but also the way the artist has chosen to arrange it.
I think that very often, one can have a mundane image that can have a significant impact because of the presentation context...

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Old 11-29-2006, 12:57 PM   #7
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I think that very often, one can have a mundane image that can have a significant impact because of the presentation context...
Terrie
That's very true.

OTOH, Andy Warhol made hundreds of millions of dollars, because when as a child he went to a Greek Orthodox church every week and he looked up at the saints on the ceiling, he started wondering -- but what if Marilyn Monroe or a can of Campbell's tomato soup were up there? What would they look like then and what would the image mean? He liked to loosen up his thinking. He may have over done it, but his was a powerful approach to images. I mean as just one example.

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Old 11-30-2006, 01:54 PM   #8
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I saw an interesting documentary on Warhol a few months ago on PBS which reminds me I was thinking about buying the dvd/video for the program and forgot about it...

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Old 11-30-2006, 04:05 PM   #9
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Terrie,

I don't know. I think maybe only someone who grew up in Pittsburgh can understand someone who grew up in Pittsburgh. That might be the only way the soup can makes sense. I have one painted by his brother hanging in my utility room with some shelves of food.

I think I got the Marilyn Monroe part wrong. When was he born? The idea on her probably had to come later.

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Old 11-30-2006, 06:34 PM   #10
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I think I got the Marilyn Monroe part wrong. When was he born? The idea on her probably had to come later.
There's a good writeup on him at Wikipedia.

   
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