directional photos

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by kajiki, Nov 16, 2009.

  1. kajiki

    kajiki TPF Noob!

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    One thing that has been puzzling me

    if a photo is directional, do we appreciate it more if the direction of travel is the same way as we read a book, is it dependent on whether we are in the Northern or South Hemisphere?
     
  2. Torus34

    Torus34 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    A most interesting question, as some books in some languages are written left to right, others are written right to left, and still others are of a top to bottom nature. That would imply that there is a cultural bias in viewing a 'directional' print, at least for the literate. Sounds like something that would require sociologists to answer. ;-))
     
  3. craig

    craig TPF Noob!

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    It is very important and often overlooked. For instance the models eyes need to be looking toward the text on the page.

    Love & Bass
     
  4. kajiki

    kajiki TPF Noob!

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    something I am particularly interested to learn here in Japan!
     
  5. c.cloudwalker

    c.cloudwalker TPF Noob!

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    The westerners eyes travel left to right when viewing a scene just like we read. I have always wanted to know if it was different in cultures where the reading direction is different. Unfortunately, I have yet to find someone who can answer the question.

    Few people who have not studied design seem to be aware of this directional aspect here in the US and it probably is the same other places. I probably could find the answer in a design book in arabic or some other language that is not read left to right but I would first have to learn the language, lol.

    I'll be checking back to see if anyone can answer this. Thanks for asking.
     
  6. skieur

    skieur TPF Noob!

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    My answer is no. From a compositional point of view, the eye is led into the photo by "lines" or "paths" which can be anything from columns, trees, roads, rivers, sidewalks, lights, etc.

    Those lines and paths which lead the eye into the photo can come from any direction and most often from the bottom of the photo.

    skieur
     
  7. bhphotography

    bhphotography TPF Noob!

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    I never actually noticed, but any motion I shoot is left to right more than it is right to left....
     
  8. photographyprogess

    photographyprogess TPF Noob!

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    I noticed something in August when I visited my best friend a weekend. We took a trip to the beach where we shot some pics of his children, 2 and 4 years old, and two of the photos was of the children staring out toward the sea. The difference between the two pics were the point of view. One where the cildren are on the left side looking to the right, and the other way around.

    The best one was the photo were the children were looking toward the right. There's something about the photo that just make it right, and the answer seems to be simply the direction.

    Edit:

    As a sociologist I would say this would require a socialanthropologist to answer. They're the ones who like to only consider culture as the only way of explaining the world. ;)
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2009
  9. c.cloudwalker

    c.cloudwalker TPF Noob!

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    You are right in that the lines in the composition will strongly influence how we view the image but they cannot totally get rid of something as ingrained (natural, or whatever the correct term should be) as looking from left to right.

    Imho, the two work together and the photographer (or painter for that matter) may want to keep it in mind. Which, btw, does not mean that all photos should be so oriented. Like any other "rule," it is quite often a good thing to break that one. I tend to think that you may actually get more interest in an image by going against the rules than with them. It forces the viewer to spend more time looking...
     
  10. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    In my experience people start where they are trained to start given a printed image-photographic or text. As far as the direction of travel, left or right- top or bottom is not as important as how much space is left for them to move.

    In other words if the subject is moving to one side and is placed on the same side of the photo then you get a claustrophobic or restricted feeling- a sense of ending if you like and the opposite is true if the subject is facing open space.


    $0.02
     
  11. Pugs

    Pugs TPF Noob!

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    What I've noticed is that I DO tend to "read" photographs from left to right, top to bottom. Even when I walk into a room and take a look around, I tend to scan the room from left to right.

    In photos, therefore, I try to compose around that principle.
     
  12. skieur

    skieur TPF Noob!

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    I wonder if being left-handed or right-handed, along with the right brain / left brain use makes any difference in how you "read" a photo.

    skieur
     

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