Centre for Contemporary Photography

Understanding Pictures - Sunday November 5

Understanding Pictures by Les Walkling

Sunday November 5, 2017
10am - 4.30pm

The ‘problem’ with photography, as with all technologically mediated art, is when it gets in the way of our understanding. Photography intensifies this by capturing so much that it can be hard to know when, and what, to pay attention to. Like any language, the process therefore needs to be broken down and demystified so we can work with it, not against it. But just as we are the ones who breath life into stone and canvas, our pictures, at their best, can also transport us ‘some- where’ beyond even that. This one day course is dedicated to how pictures do this, that is, how they ‘think, emote and misbehave’, and the essential processes underpinning all image creation. Topics include:

Analysing Pictures - The Structure of Images
• Decisive moments and effective compositions
• Figures and grounds - the organisation of the image
• Drawing compositions - the relationships within the image
• Tonal compositions - the drama of the image
• Colour compositions - the mood of the image
• Spatial compositions - our relationship to the image

Building Pictures - The Elements of Pictorial Design
• Line
• Direction
• Size
• Shape,
• Texture and Tone
• Hue and Chroma

Designing Pictures - The Principles of Pictorial Design
• Form and Repetition
• Gradation and Contrast
• Rhythm and Melody
• Harmony and Discord
• Unity and Conflict
• Dominance and Balance

Looking at Pictures - Thinking about Images
• The nature of light, shade, and shadow - inherent versus imposed values
• Emotional theories of scale and aspect ratios
• Picturing things - Picturing feelings
• Interpretive frameworks - formal, cultural, political, historical, personal
• Symbols, associations, metaphors, archetypes, equivalents, and illusions
• Photography - a way of seeing

The course is based around looking at pictures; their critical analysis, historical investigation, and real world imaging solutions. It is about you understanding, managing and creatively working with the elements and principles of pictorial de- sign. And it is about contemporary photographic practice that goes way beyond ‘rules of composition’. It is about how to make your pictures ‘work’ and the collaborative image creation process that makes this possible. Detailed course notes and video tutorials are provided.

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