Just a Little Does a Lot

There are a few things that I took away from the is reading from Zettl’s chapter 7 of his book, that I think are very relevant to the slideshow presentation I am working on now and will be posting over the weekend. The first is how the angle of an image can affect the understanding of it. When the horizon line is horizontal, we feel a sense of normalcy and are there for at ease when we look at an image. If the horizon line is angled though, we become curious and often times anxious as to why the image is composed so different. Here is a quick example:

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When I took this picture, I was riding on a bike behind my family. I intended for the horizon line to be horizontal and took the picture with that in mind. If i rotate the same picture though, you can see how much it changed the image. The places that were originally focal points are now off to the side. There is just a general sense of something being “off.” Alfred Hitchcock utilizes this idea of a skewed angle and diagonals quite frequently in his film “Psycho” when we wanted to show that something in the situation was not right or “off.” Here is a quick clip of what I’m talking about: 

One more concept that I found interesting in this particular reading was the section discussing horizontal versus vertical angles. What I had never thought about before is the fact that we spend so much time being horizontal. That sounds very strange at first but then it makes sense when you think about all the time you spend laying down sleeping and napping. Sure, a large portion of our lives we are up and walking around, and thus vertical, but we spend more time lounging and sleeping than anything else. So it makes sense that images that are horizontal are more pleasing to us because of this. Verticality represents power and turbidity while horizontality represents tranquility and calmness. See if you can notice a difference in the way you feel based on these two photos, just focusing on the fact that they are horizontal and vertical:

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They are, at the heart, the same image. There is absolutely a softer and more relaxed feel to the first photo versus the second though.


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