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Saturday, 15 April 2017


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https://everypixel.com/aesthetics predicts 99.8% chance that the image is awesome...

C'mon, surely there's an article coming up, "The other 11 intrinsic compositions?"

Back in the 70's I used to stray. My wife erected an electric fence to help my fidelity to our vows. It worked a treat until I grew to love the pain. At that point my darling took down the fence. It was no longer needed. I had achieved the requisite skill to become the perfect husband.

Red advances towards the viewer. Ble and green recede. Maybe that is why it works one way but not the reverse.


Thanks, Mike. Would love to see your picks for the full dozen. Future post?

Perhaps related to how our sight evolved to be good at finding colourful fruit among even thick foliage.

Cool accents on a warm field? Actually the Mannerist landscape painters of the 16th century developed a technique of suggesting perspective with color: parts of landscapes that were distant, and presumably obscured by haze, were painted in a blue tint. I've seen beautiful pieces with warm and colorful fore and midground set off by small, irresistible views, say, down through a wood or through gaps among buildings, that show cool toned distant prospects.

The warm patches on a cool field, on the other hand, according to British art historian, the late Kenneth Clark, seem to date from the late 15th century, maybe were pushed by a new interest in making painting more exciting, and probably took as inspiration bits of northern European myth like "..Fire in the flood..." on Grendel's Mere in BEOWULF.

All this doesn't say anything about the primitive instincts you offered, but it describes the earliest pertinent imagery I know of.

What about the sight of a glorious waterhole in the midst of the desert? Equally welcoming!

Interesting..I didn't know this, I must admit, fascinating how what happened so back in the times can influence us today...great!

Hi Mike,

The "dozen or so basic, baseline strategies for making a picture appeal to people", with examples, would be a great topic for a series of posts!

This comment is mostly unrelated to this post, as it (the post) pertains to color. I am interested in. Black and white and how to better understand tonality, gradation and what makes a black and white image work. Would love to read your thoughts on what makes for good digital black and White and why some of the main differences are between film and digital capture of these type images. I can't be alone in wishing for you to write such a piece. Please? Pretty please??

Blue-yellow polarizer filters are available.

The early use of warm patches on cool fields by 15th and 16th century landscape painters, which I brought up in an earlier comment, all suggested fire or sometimes actually depicted fire. The technique got to be popular, and the message was fear and awe: those fires were manifestations of supernatural forces that as often as not weren't benign. Campfires?

Look to early European mythology.

Assigning this or that to "instinct" is a tough business. Different cultures and different periods sometimes seem to show different reactions to common stimuli and symbols.

So we're out here in this cold colored setting - possibly dark too, another intrinsic suggestion that the location is undomesticated and unfamiliar - are we sure that that bright, warm light ahead is friendly? Or is it dangerous?

So the superstitious, violent 15th and 16th century think " Demons!". We think "S'mores with the kids."

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