Sequence viewing > Aesthetics Index - Resource - © Lloyd Godman

Often we look to new and ever more elaborate equipment as a means of creating exciting photographs we somehow see this as a means to creativity. It reminds me of the adage " all gear and no idea" or the reverse - " all idea and no gear".

However, one of the most powerful tools we have is our creative vision.

How an apparently ordinary scene can be transformed into a inspiring 2d image with visual impact - how the subject can be isolated from the greater visual context within the camera frame - how we can chose a refreshing and insightful view point that presents the subject in a dynamic way - how we can apply our perception of the gestalt principles by finding stimulating graphic structure in the world around us.

The gap between our experience and the photograph

When we look at photographs we have taken, we carry our personal emotional experience into the image –

So we can look at an photograph we have taken and think it looks amazing, we have reference of things outside the frame that a viewer does not – while these might be other visual aspects like a high cliff, a car crash etc. there are other factors like sensations like heat or cold - smell, touch and a third spatial dimension that we carry into the image.

But an audience can only see what is actually in the image - they have no real experience. When we look at our images we need to stand back and look critically at what is actually in the image not what we think is in the image.

A good photographer is able to identify the key visual aspect of the scene to convey the meaning they are after - they understand aesthetic devices, the syntax of the medium and how to achieve this through the technical controls of the medium that are working with. When we isolate the key visual components the images gain a huge amount – so most often less is more.


Aesthetics is the study of what images look like and how we visually read them, and more importantly it gives an insight into how we can construct them - this index of the resource crosses over with photographic syntax.

We might like to think of this as the design of the image or the composition. Learning about aesthetics gives us a foundation to design an image in the viewfinder of the camera.

In recent years, in contemporary art, there has been more emphasis placed on theoretical issues and what images mean with aesthetics relegated as a rather unfashionable given that just happens. So ironically there is a generation of artists some of whom know little about image design and colour theories.

However images are things we look at and the information in effects us one way or another. We tend to find that artists who make visually stimulating images have a good understanding and sense of aesthetics and apply this in their work.


There are many different systems devised as a means to design images and just as many ways to look at photographs - this resource will introduce some of these.




Want to learn more? - do a workshop or one on one with Lloyd Godman