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Picture This

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This is an engagement we have used with students. The work is based on Molly Bang's work, Picture This -- a text well worth your time to read. Bang asks, “How does the structure of a picture affect our emotional response?" Students engage in the process outlined in this slidedeck in order to grapple with that question.

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Picture This

  1. 1. Picture This Based on the work of Molly Bang Reilly & Cohen
  2. 2. Molly Bang began with the question: “How does the structure of a picture affect our emotional response?"
  3. 3. • These are 10 (though by no means all) of Bang's insights (all are direct quotations from Bang): 1. Smooth, flat, horizontal shapes give us a sense of stability and calm. See Bang, pp. 42-43.
  4. 4. 2. Vertical shapes are more exciting and more active. Vertical shapes rebel against the earth's gravity. They imply energy and a reaching toward heights or the heavens. See Bang, pp. 44-46
  5. 5. 3. Diagonal shapes are dynamic because they imply motion or tension. See Bang, pp. 46-54.
  6. 6. 4. The upper half of a picture is a place of freedom, happiness and triumph; objects placed in the top half often feel more "spiritual." The bottom half of a picture feels more threatened, heavier, sadder, or more constrained; objects placed in the bottom half also feel more "grounded." An object placed higher up on the page has "greater pictorial weight." See Bang, pp. 54-62.
  7. 7. 5. The center of the page is the most effective "center of attention." It is the point of greatest attraction. The edges and corners of the picture are the edges and corners of the picture world.
  8. 8. 6. Light backgrounds feel safer to us than dark backgrounds because we can see well during the day and only poorly at night. See Bang, pp. 68-69.
  9. 9. 7. We feel more scared looking at pointed shapes; we feel more secure or comforted looking at rounded shapes or curves. See Bang, pp. 70-71.
  10. 10. 8. The larger an object is in a picture, the stronger it feels. See Bang, pp. 72-76.
  11. 11. 9. We associate the same or similar colors much more strongly than we associate the same or similar shapes. See Bang, pp. 76-80.
  12. 12. 10. We notice contrasts; contrast enables us to see. See Bang, p. 80.
  13. 13. Engagement 1. Create a picture illustrating the sentence, “Birds attack.” 1. Combine in some fashion up to, but no more than, four colors (including background) and distinctive shapes in order to illustrate some aspect of Bang's principles. 1. Strong emotions are easier to depict than weak ones. Don't be too realistic. Use construction paper -- experiment with different sizes, shapes, colors and arrangement. Tape it together. 1. Write a brief explanation of what you did and why.
  14. 14. Birds Attack
  15. 15. Sleeping Beauty by Shannon Winter