Urbanity Image Review #1

Taken in Hong Kong, March 2014.

A somewhat “lucky” shot.

Urbanity Image #1 22

There are three distinct planes in the image defined by the location of each of the subjects. I am starting to love finding different, clearly defined planes in images. The suggested lines of diminishing perspective (the long arrows!) are accentuated by the lateral lines of the stairs. Wow, that was a fancy mouthfull! What I meant to say was the stairs emphasize the different size and location of each subject.

The three planes start small at the viewer’s entry point on the left of the image. The eye is naturally drawn to the first female subject by the lines of the stairs, and then the image opens up as the viewer gradually shifts towards the left to the largest male subject on the right. The image almost feels like a meandering road that vanishes off in the distrance.

gestalt image

The three subjects also form a gestalt view of a triangle – there are no physical triangular lines but my mind forms the triangle regardless. You can do some interweb investigation to better understand what it is all about. The gestalt principle demonstrated in this image is reification – “filling in the gaps”.

My mind draws a line connecting the three heads, another line connecting the three sets of feet, and then closing the final line that starts in the corner of the background downwards.

There are also three very simple, and clear blocks of texture and colour in the image, the boundaries of which almost line up with the traditional rule of thirds grid!

This image breaks one of my own personal rules – don’t shoot people on their phones. Over the last five years, the number of people unaware of their environment on the streets due to their eyes being locked to their smartphone screens has exploded. I no longer shoot people on their phones unless the composition benefits from it, or if they are inconsequential to the overall image.

In this case, the three of them are almost catatonically unaware of me, or each other. This is in direct contrast to the images behind them – people in motion, heads up, looking forward, confidently aware of their surroundings. The natural lines that draw the eye from left to right, is in opposition to the images which are moving towards the left.

The spot naturally frames the subjects with very little visual clutter.





6 Responses to “Urbanity Image Review #1”

  1. Nice analysis of this great image..I can’t read the words on the top left though! Gestalt is interesting in this context too. I don’t know if you’ve heard of this guy http://phenomenologyandphotography.wordpress.com/
    He has a heap of sites/blogs and talks a lot about gestalt and a “new” way of thinking about street photography.
    I hear what you are saying about mobiles too


    • People on their phones are interesting at first, but then not so interesting…


      • Paul's Pictures November 3, 2014 at 4:15 pm

        exactly unless as you say it’s part of the composition or message of the photo..i went out today and saw a sign on a town hall something like “who is doing good things for our community” some kind of local contest. and there was a guy staring at his mobile on the bench in front..now I thought that works! (well have to have a look to see if it REALLY does haha)


    • Wow – thanks for the loop into the website – I am always looking for serious composition stuff. Thanks again!


      • Paul's Pictures November 3, 2014 at 4:13 pm

        I actually meant to tell you about him ages ago and forgot all about it. Knew you’d be interested..he’s pretty intense but some fascinating stuff



  1. SITHOM Exhibition – An Interview with M.Turker Emeklier | Inconspicuosity - March 3, 2015

    […] time with it, a gestalt triangle appeared, overtaking the more obvious one in the previous image. A gestalt shape is an image where the brain is left to complete the image using imagination… Now, all I see is the gestalt triangle, running outside of the frame. Having to complete the final […]


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