Sunday, October 5, 2008

Book Review: Picture This - How Pictures Work

Picture This - How Pictures Work by Molly Bang

This is certainly the book that has surprised me most this year! Molly Bang uses four differently colored papers and cuts out shapes from them to make images. I was fascinated to see how simple shapes cut from paper can have such a powerful emotional impact. The woman is clearly a master.

In the first part of the book, she creates some illustrations for Little Red Riding Hood (the fairy tale) walking the reader through the process of making each image more powerful and emotionally evocative.

In the second part she explains basic principles of how pictures work. For example, sharp and pointed shapes can evoke fear while round shapes remind the viewer of comfort and safety. Horizontal lines are calming, diagonals dynamic. Sounds simple, and it is. Molly Bang makes it clear that most of the principles are known to all of us because they are based on experiences that all of us share - gravity, for example. It really is that simple.

Molly then goes on to explain some observations which did not quite make it to be principles.

Finally, she gives some advice on how to practice creating evocative images out of paper and assigns some exercises.

I - like me - you did not study art but want to know why your pictures do or do not work or how they work, this little book fits the bill perfectly. I think everyone working with images - not just photographers - should read this book. It certainly opened by eyes and I see pictures and images differently now.

Highly recommended!

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="111" caption="5 stars (out of 5)"]5 stars (out of 5)[/caption]

Picture This
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