PSYC-230 Psychology, Photography, and the Visual Arts
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What is art? This question is explored in the context of photography. After a brief treatment of technical aspects of photography, both traditional principles of composition and the much richer system of visual design articulated by Freeman Patterson are explored in detail. The photographer is responsible for everything in the picture space. The slightest change may make a difference in how the viewer reacts to the photograph. The psychology of composition must be understood in order to increase the likelihood that viewers will react to the photograph the way the photographer wants them to react. Thus principles of visual perception, cognition, and emotion assume an important role. For example, the many cues that play a part in depth perception and factors that control eye moments are discussed at length. Also included are three sessions devoted to the psychology of motion pictures, especially cinematography, special effects, and stunt work.
The course is designed to improve your photography as well as your appreciation of photographic art. Most people take pictures to record the many details of a wide variety of subjects. This subject-oriented approach is contrasted with a design-oriented approach which is much more compatible with the principles of psychology underlying visual composition. Of
course, the design approach includes realistic photography but it also includes the creation of abstracts, the “poetry” of photography.
Students will be required to create two portfolios of ten pictures each and will learn to make ordinary subjects extraordinary. Either digital or film cameras are acceptable. This course caters not only to students who are visually creative, but also to students who aspire to unlock the creativity they didn’t know they had. Offered both semesters. Prerequisite: General Psychology or permission of the instructor. No previous photographic experience is required.
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