Segments in this Video

Introduction (00:30)


Prepare to learn the language of photography.

Basic Language of Photography (02:00)

Elements such as lighting and composition are built into a photograph to evoke emotions on the part of the viewer. Visual literacy is knowing how to create pictures and also how to interpret them.

Elements of a Scene (02:48)

The elements of a scene are: line, shapes, forms, patterns, and textures. By combining these images, the photograph conveys a message to the brain.

Five Basic Shapes (01:52)

The five basic shapes are triangle, square, rectangle, circle, and irregular. Patterns create a feeling of unity or harmony. Texture describes the dimensions of a surface. Composition is the integration of all of the elements of a scene.

Composition in Photography (03:15)

Composition should be both noticed and examined in a photograph. Volume duality is the interplay of positive and negative volume. Balance and symmetry are used to convey a variety of feelings.

Frame, Perspective, and Depth (04:52)

The frame is defined by its edges; what is beyond is left to the viewer's imagination. Perspective and depth allow a three dimensional world to translate a two dimensional medium. Different lenses, such as wide-angle or telephoto, give depth and perspective to a photograph.

Using Shadows and Placement (02:57)

Shadows enhance the three dimensional nature of items. Placement of objects can give a feeling of depth or power.

Depth of Field (03:51)

Depth of field is the distance range within which objects in a picture appear sharp. Depth of field depends on the lens opening, the distance of the subject, and the focal length of the lens.

Becoming Visually Literate (01:26)

To become visually literate, one must know how a picture is created. Knowledge of these elements enable us to make judgements about a picture.

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Decoding Photographic Images

Part of the Series : The Language of Photography
DVD (Chaptered) Price: $149.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $224.93
3-Year Streaming Price: $149.95



When setting up a shot, a photographer works with composition, lighting, and color to create a subliminal subtext that reinforces or even carries the meaning of his or her subject. This program illustrates how basic components of photography—line, shape, form, texture, balance, volume duality, point of view, depth of field, and perspective—contribute to an image’s impact on the subconscious mind. Commentary is provided by Herb Zettl, author of the seminal Sight Sound Motion, and photographers Jo Whaley, Stephen Johnson, Larry Sultan, and Catherine Wagner. (27 minutes)

Length: 28 minutes

Item#: BVL30807

ISBN: 978-1-60825-791-1

Copyright date: ©2001

Closed Captioned

Performance Rights

Prices include public performance rights.

Only available in USA and Canada.