Understanding Pictures

Nicolas POUSSIN, The Crossing of the Red Sea, 1632-1634, National Gallery of Victoria

Centre for Contemporary Photography (Melbourne)
•  23 April 2017
•  18 June 2017
•  13 August 2017
•  05 November 2017


The ‘problem’ with photography, as with all technologically mediated art, is when it gets in the way of our understanding. Photography intensifies this by capturing so much that it can be hard to know when, and what, to pay attention to. Like any language, the process therefore needs to be broken down and demystified so we can work with it, not against it. But just as we are the ones who breath life into stone and canvas, our pictures, at their best, can also transport us ‘somewhere else’. This one day course is dedicated to how pictures do this, that is, how they ‘think, emote and misbehave’, and the essential processes underpinning all image creation. Topics include:

Analysing Pictures – The Structure of Images
•  Decisive moments and effective compositions
•  Figures and grounds – the organisation of the image
•  Drawing compositions – the relationships within the image
•  Tonal compositions – the drama of the image
•  Colour compositions – the personality of the image
•  Spatial compositions – our relationship to the image

Building Pictures – The Elements of Pictorial Design
•  Line
•  Direction
•  Size
•  Shape,
•  Texture and Tone
•  Hue and Chroma

Designing Pictures – The Principles of Pictorial Design
•  Form and Repetition
•  Gradation and Contrast
•  Rhythm and Melody
•  Harmony and Discord
•  Unity and Conflict
•  Dominance and Balance

Looking at Pictures – Thinking about Images
•  The nature of light, shade, and shadow – inherent versus imposed values
•  Emotional theories of scale and aspect ratios
•  Picturing things – Picturing feelings
•  Interpretive frameworks – formal, cultural, political, historical, personal
•  Symbols, associations, metaphors, archetypes, equivalents, and illusions
•  Photography – a way of seeing

The course is based around looking at pictures; their critical analysis, historical investigation, and real world imaging solutions. It is about you understanding, managing and creatively working with the elements and principles of pictorial design. And it is about contemporary photographic practice that goes way beyond ‘rules of composition’. It is about how to make your pictures ‘sing’ and the collaborative image creation process that makes this possible. Detailed course notes and video tutorials are provided.

Cost: CCP Member $220, Non CCP Member $280
BookingsOnline Bookings or phone the CCP on 03 9417 1549
Venue: The Centre for Contemporary Photography, 404 George Street, Fitzroy, VIC.
Course Duration: Sunday 10.00am – 4.30pm