Sequence viewing > Aesthetics Index - Resource - © Lloyd Godman

The direction we read images


Within certain cultures there are predicable ways people read visual information.

Consider that in western culture we read text from the top left corner across, so we tend to read images in the same manner


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where as in the east text might be sequenced from the top left downwards. Often we tend to view images in relation to the culture we are exposed to.  

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As mentioned because most people in the west are conditioned to read in a certain way we can exploit this in the way we construct our images

See how we tend to read an image like this in a different way when the image is reversed


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In one case we see the line of the tree trunk running in sympathy to the way we read the image, in the other it is contradictory.

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Lateral reversal of an image like this can psychologically suggest opposite readings. So in the image because its is orientated left to right, the horses appear to be going from on place to another.




Where as in this image we perceive the horses to be coming back from somewhere.

This is a reason you most often see advertisements of cars and air planes orientated from left to right - Its more seductive to suggest escape and the direction of going away rather than coming back.




In this image of the small pond we get quite a different feeling when the image is orientated on a different axis - the vertical image on the right gives a sense where the pond is higher and we are disorientated more.

In this image of the fallen tree with lichen, the strong lines lead the eye in a different manner in each of the images.




Understanding such issues allows us to use them as visual strategies in our image making.


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