Picture Composition, Second Edition by Peter Ward

By Peter Ward

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News coverage of unrehearsed incidents) has a specific authenticating credibility even when it is replicated. For some people, music without a melody is difficult to enjoy, just as a series of images without a story is incomprehensible. What does it mean? How are the images connected? One of the seminal avant-garde films was Luis Bun˜uel’s ‘Un Chien Andalou’ (1928). It contains a sequence where an eye is sliced by a razor. The image is alarming and frightening. It is a radical assault on the viewer who may require a film that tells a story.

It looks like an ‘‘x’’ but I must look at it longer to make quite sure’ can be caused by unexpected lighting or shot size. The meaning of a familiar image can be understood without conscious thought whereas intelligent interest is required to understand unfamiliar subjects. Recognition of images may be easily accomplished if the observer is favourably disposed towards them. That which tends to arouse the observer’s hostility or antipathy may be either forgotten or ignored. A tight shot of a woman feeding her baby with the woman’s face looking down to the baby at her breast will engender, in most people, a feeling of warmth and human empathy.

Viewing a horror film demonstrates the power of the viewer’s imagination. , the shadow behind the door). The less we see the more we imagine. There is nothing more vivid than the pictures we generate in our head. Research suggests that our brains are constantly distorting what we see. We guess what is out there from past experience rather than having to build up images instantaneously. The brain fills in a vast amount of additional information. The brain just doesn’t see – it invents much of it. Perception is a highly personal inner world.

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