Figure/Ground: Adam Pacheco


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The example I chose to use was Mooney Face Picture, an example used by psychologist Craig Mooney. Depending on the viewer, you can see either a woman’s face or a saxophonist.

Figure and ground, otherwise known as positive and negative space, is a key facet of digital photography. Graphic designers use this technique in order to stimulate the viewer’s perception of the image, in other words bring certain objects to the front of the image and push other objects towards the back of the image. Finding a good balance between the two is an effective way to create a successful text.

The text that I chose to use is a piece used by Craig Mooney. This particular text caught my eye because with my initial glance I saw the saxophonist simply because it seems like a black image on a blank white canvas but after a few seconds of analyzing this image I noticed the woman’s face towards the right of the photo. This is a basic example of the use of negative and positive space. In this specific case, I believe the right side of the image to be the negative space which is mainly the woman’s face. This is because the black part of the image uses the white part as a canvas, making the saxophonist stand out just a bit more. Without the negative space, the positive space is still visible to the viewer, however with the balance between the two the viewer is then able to see the woman’s face. Something else that I noticed the author did was place the floating black dot which is used to be the right eye of the woman’s face. Her eye is not necessary for the saxophonist but it doesn’t take away all of the attention away from the viewer, in this case it draws the viewer’s eyes to the right of the photo which introduces the woman’s face. I thought this to be an effective use of contrast in this text.

I think the use of figure/ground in this particular text is primarily practical because like stated above, there is no use for the black dot in order to notice the saxophonist but the viewer needs the black dot in order to notice the woman’s face. Therefore there is a specific use for this particular black dot on the right of the photo.

This entry was posted in 336 Spring 2018, figure-ground, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

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