Post header image: cultier. (2013). Las Leyes Gestalt | cultier. [online] Available at: [Accessed 8 May 2020].


I used this exercise to think intensively about the concept given, more than physical photography. The German word “Gestalt” is strongly related to the Dutch “Gestalte”. It is not just (or just not?) the simple idea about the whole being more than the sum of parts, it is a form of “completeness” a holistic entity, whatever it consists of. The use of Gestalt in this exercise seems to build from the relatively narrow google definition of this concept, although the used “coalescence” seems better suitable indeed.

When composing, or in my case, framing an image intentionally in whatever rule or aerial distribution in mind, I have difficulties to see the unintentional part as contributing addition, making it a “gestalt”—almost the opposite. The intentional part (e.g. 1/4 of a viewfinder frame), when framing with care, always relates with “my” idea of completeness, otherwise my framing, my intention was useless. The totality of an image does not mean “more” or more in the frame; the completeness relates to the purpose. Gestalt is in my opinion also to define the entirety by intentional framing of the interpreted whole of an image, otherwise framing was useless, my function as a photographer is useless, a bigger frame, more parts in the frame, in fact, adding the unintentional, does not make a gestalt. The intentional subframe, the intended image, can indeed form a visual coalescence, or is perhaps, likely even, visually related to its surrounding subframes. Still, as long the intentional is “more complete” than the unintentional, my role is only luck, which is fine too, but not intended in this course.

Going back to the basics of Gestalt as a concept, where basically is defined that no object (or subject) can be interpreted in its isolation, framing in photography becomes a complex subject indeed, is photography therefor the art of isolation? Hence framing is often the biggest contribution by the photographer to the image. Not sure this is the correct timing or place in the course to elaborate further on this matter but a very useful exercise indeed. It is interesting to read, McManus, Stöver and Kim (McManus, Stöver and Kim, 2011) try roughly the same exercise in their research on image balance and the CoM (Centre of Mass) of a photograph and how it relates to the intended frame and surrounding ( not intended)  frames and therefor Gestalt. The centre of mass was frequently more balanced in the intended ones b.t.w.

McManus, I.C., Stöver, K. and Kim, D. (2011). Arnheim’s Gestalt Theory of Visual Balance: Examining the Compositional Structure of Art Photographs and Abstract Images. i-Perception, 2(6), pp.615–647.


Post image: cultier. (2013). Las Leyes Gestalt | cultier. [online] Available at: [Accessed 8 May 2020].