In-Depth: The Importance Of Looking Deeply At Photography


We recently came across an interesting article, which describes the ability by our brains to decodify images.

A team of neuroscientists from MIT. has found that the human brain can process entire images that the eye sees for as little as 13 milliseconds.

The study refers specifically to our ability to recognize specific elements in an image, still, it’s an impressively minuscule amount of time. And yet, we are less and less able to concentrate. Can it be a possibility that the more we scroll, the less patient we become in terms of truly understanding the meaning of text and context of images?

Credits: sobetion, rodrigoalmeida, -l-l-l-, hodachrome & ccwu

This leads us to think about what characteristics a photo must hold in order for us to devote more than 13 milliseconds to it. Let's not forget that reading, as well, is not a natural cerebral behavior. It is our brain's ability to unite two cognitive apparatus that make this possible.

When we first learn to read we have this most basic circuit. It's just putting together the visual processes that identify a letter or a character with a word, with what we know about the word. So it's putting vision and language together. That's one form of reading. That's a very basic form of what we would call decoding. Maryanne Wolf

So if the basis of our cognitive abilities is to decode visual elements, we can deduce that looking at an image is a primordial ability that activates our deepest instincts.
Although we understand, it is still discouraging to know how it has shrunk our attention span. However it still holds true that some images remain indelibly etched in our memory.

A Universal Language

This is probably why images are a universal language that every human can understand. The resulting ease of this learning process means that images reach where language encounters barriers.

Credits: gnarlyleech, paperplanepilot, sandkorn, disdis & makny

Nonetheless, the success of a photo is something inexplicable. Some pictures will be stuck with you, where all the elements that govern a successful image, such as light, composition, timing, colors, find their balance and we are graced with something special.

Happy the photographer who knows what is his enemy, or what is his friend; but in either case, it is too often 'something,' he can't tell what; and all the certainty that the best of experience attains is, that you are dealing with one of those subtle agencies which, though Ariel-like it will serve you bravely, will never be taught implicitly to obey. Photography (1857) by Lady Elizabeth Eastlake.

Think about how much effort photographers spend creating a photo. Being aware that such little time will be devoted to it is daunting. Yet to look closely at an image it is possible to grasp all its nuances; to comprehend its meaning and message; to put yourself into the scene and make it yours.

Credits: earlybird, ccwu, neja, lomovan & mandi

As photographers, we have an extra interest in figuring out the setting, film stock, lights, and all of those technicalities that drive some photographers crazy. But it is not only a fetishism for technicalities that has us staring at a photograph for a long time. It is also about understanding the story behind an image.

We implore you to commit and devote time to looking at photography. Go back again and again to catch the subtle nuances, the unexpected details, and the hidden gems that pop out after a more careful examination.

Cherish a photographer's art and their work. It takes not only time, but also a great deal of courage to share one’s work with the public. We should reclaim more time and allow ourselves to think, absorb and gain a deeper state of understanding towards the abundance of information we receive.

How do you like to consume photography? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

written by eparrino on 2023-02-05 #culture #scrolling #in-depth-article #images-processing #brain-speed #attention-spam #decoding-images #basic-understanding-of-a-photo

One Comment

  1. hervinsyah
    hervinsyah ·

    Mandi's photo are mind blowing. I really admire all of the lomographer at bbc lomography documentary

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