Home » Blog » The Photographer’s Eye by Freeman, Michael

The Photographer’s Eye by Freeman, Michael

Freeman, Michael. The Photographer’s Eye. United Kingdom. The Ilex Press Ltd © 2011. Amazon Kindle ebook. Accessed 28.2.15

I first read this book about 6 months ago, but decided to revisit it for my OCA course.  I found it very rewarding – a bible to photo-visual literacy and fits very well with the ‘visual skills’ component of the course.

I learned many things, from the effect of the frame shape and orientation on the way the eye sees an image, framing, placement, dividing of the frame, contrast, Gestalt theory, balance and so on. I intend to use the text for ongoing reference as I find MF’s writing to have great clarity.

Immediate lessons as my journey continues:

  • Colour theory was linked to music theory by the ancient Greeks – we have chromatic colour and we also have the chromatic music scale – containing 7 colours and 7 musical notes.  I have an interest in playing guitar and have now made the connection and similarities in the languages of photography and music.  I intend to explore this more deeply.
  • ‘The two most fundamental principles are contrast and balance. Contrast stresses the differences between graphic elements in a picture, whether it is contrast of tone, colour, form, or whatever. Two contrasting elements reinforce each other. Balance is intimately related to contrast; it is the active relationship between opposing elements. If the balance (between blocks of colour, for example) is resolved, there is a sense of equilibrium in the image. If unresolved, the image seems out of balance and a visual tension remains.” (contrast). I found this profound, particularly the broad view of contrast as any type of contrast, not just obvious visual contrast of light/dark etc.
  • Gestalt perception – this is discussed extensively, with its various aspects.  I think of it broadly as the human need to make sense of what is around us, based on ancient animal instincts of quickly recognising patterns / things to know whether or not they will harm us. We instinctively want to make sense of what we see and complete patterns. The power in a visual image is to create something that cannot be immediately understood and keep the viewer fixed on the frame a little longer.

Comments here