Hel­lo dear read­er. From pre­vi­ous arti­cles on por­trait gen­res and emo­tions, we already know what accents are need­ed for each direc­tion of pho­tog­ra­phy and how to show not just a “car­cass” of a per­son, but a liv­ing char­ac­ter with emo­tion and feel­ings.

We take a cam­era in our hands in order to take a pho­to. Sud­den­ly, of course, but we signed up for it our­selves. Most often, we strive to express our­selves, to put our thoughts and ideas into the image, but also often we do not know how best to dis­play our real­i­ty so that the view­er can ful­ly under­stand it and feel how we feel it. In this arti­cle, we will look at the view­er’s per­cep­tion and how to manip­u­late it in order to gain con­trol over the prod­uct being cre­at­ed and not rely on luck.

Pho­tog­ra­phy is a reflec­tion of real­i­ty. But, as in any visu­al pro­duc­tion, the dis­played real­i­ty is refract­ed by the per­cep­tion of the author. The pho­tog­ra­ph­er seeks to put his ideas and thoughts into the frame, often for­get­ting that he direct­ly inter­acts with the sub­ject and the sur­round­ing real­i­ty. Our atti­tude towards our own work is ini­tial­ly sub­jec­tive and biased, and also too far from the impres­sions of those for whom pho­tog­ra­phy is intend­ed — the audi­ence.

The view­er, look­ing at the pho­to, has no idea about “what the author want­ed to say”, who is cap­tured in the pic­ture, what thoughts and aspi­ra­tions were invest­ed dur­ing the work. Yes, unfor­tu­nate­ly he does not need it. We live in a time when the view­er is sur­round­ed by a large amount of visu­al con­tent, thanks to the Inter­net, out­door adver­tis­ing, tele­vi­sion, etc. Our audi­ence no longer spends most of its ener­gy on find­ing an inter­est­ing image, as it was in the last cen­tu­ry and ear­li­er, but on elim­i­nat­ing the unin­ter­est­ing.

In order not to hope for a suc­cess­ful match in mutu­al under­stand­ing with your audi­ence, but to have the abil­i­ty to con­trol and always get a more guar­an­teed result as a result of the film­ing process, let’s look at how the view­er’s per­cep­tion is built.

We can say that a per­son becomes a spec­ta­tor at birth, because. our species is born with eyes already open, but with a slight nuance: for the first 4 months, the baby can­not focus his eyes and most­ly sees blur­ry col­ored spots. Over time, we begin to study the world around us: I think each of us has at least once seen how a baby pulls every­thing that comes to hand into his mouth, tries to break the sur­round­ing objects and often behaves extreme­ly unrea­son­ably com­pared to an adult. But such behav­ior is not con­nect­ed with the fact that the child is a crazy van­dal, but with the fact that at the begin­ning of our life we ​​need to get a lot of infor­ma­tion about the world around us: with tac­tile con­tact, we per­ceive the tex­ture of objects; when we pull objects into the mouth, we feel the taste and at the same time smell; when try­ing to break an object, we study its strength and elas­tic­i­ty. At the begin­ning of his exis­tence, a per­son col­lects and remem­bers a large amount of infor­ma­tion in order to sub­se­quent­ly eas­i­ly per­ceive and inter­act with the real­i­ty around him. If you, dear read­er, are already at the age when you can read this arti­cle, then you can also eas­i­ly imag­ine and feel how you touch, feel the taste and, some­times, smell of objects, just by look­ing at them. For­tu­nate­ly, our con­scious­ness does not pull out infor­ma­tion in the form of direct speech in the thought process: “if I touch this table / wall / any­thing, I will feel a sim­i­lar tex­ture”, but imme­di­ate­ly cre­ates a sen­sa­tion based on pre­vi­ous expe­ri­ence.

In fact, any frame is a two-dimen­sion­al image of a sta­t­ic moment of real­i­ty, dis­played by means of a screen or print­ed (or oth­er­wise formed) on any sur­face, inca­pable of evok­ing in a per­son any­thing but a sen­sa­tion from the sur­face of the mate­r­i­al. But the mechan­ics of per­cep­tion described above allows the view­er to expe­ri­ence dif­fer­ent “feel­ings” when view­ing a pho­to, because our con­scious­ness is able to dis­tin­guish the imprint­ed con­tent and enrich it with the impres­sions of life expe­ri­ence.

Due to this, the pho­tog­ra­ph­er has the abil­i­ty to con­trol the per­cep­tion of the view­er, i.e. the author can set the direc­tion in which his audi­ence will “feel” and build a whole sto­ry, giv­ing pho­tog­ra­phy life.

Although the view­er and our tar­get audi­ence as a whole are an intan­gi­ble abstrac­tion, since it is unlike­ly that in the age of the Inter­net we will be able to per­son­al­ly meet every­one who sees our work, get to know their per­son­al­i­ties and char­ac­ters, but, for­tu­nate­ly, the per­cep­tion mech­a­nisms of all peo­ple are the same. Such uni­ty allows us to cre­ate speech and find a com­mon lan­guage through the manip­u­la­tion of the visu­al con­tent of pho­tographs, with­out fear that the unique fea­tures of the char­ac­ter (after all, each of us is a “per­son­al­i­ty”) will not allow the audi­ence to ful­ly under­stand the embed­ded inten­tion.

There are three ele­ments in pho­tog­ra­phy that give the pho­tog­ra­ph­er con­trol over the view­er’s per­cep­tion: cloth­ing, space, and action. I advise you to read them in order.