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Phil Douglis | profile | all galleries >> Gallery Twenty Nine: The Layered Image – accumulating meaning tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

Gallery Twenty Nine: The Layered Image – accumulating meaning


Expressive images use layers to deepen and broaden ideas. I speak of layering here as an organizing process, part of the structure of a photograph itself. (Don’t confuse this kind of layering with those post-processing layers that are often used to enhance or build an image in Photoshop.)

Layers can play a huge role in the composition of an image. We can read these layers from front to back, or from side to side. Layers can be used to create incongruous juxtapositions, or can create perspective by implying depth. We can guide a viewer’s eye through a composition by relating foreground, middleground and background layers of information. We can relate subject layers to context layers to help an image make its point. While some images are essentially flat, and require no layers, others may use two, three, or even four layers to express meaning. Layers can build substance into an image, enhancing not only its organization but its meaning. Layers can also create coherence by alternating soft and sharp planes of focus. They can even be used to abstract the subject, the final touch in building a delicious sandwich for the imagination – each level adding to the pleasure and substance of the whole.

In this gallery, I demonstrate how expressive images can make use of layering to express ideas and stimulate the imagination. These initial examples were photographed in Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA. More examples will gradually be added to this gallery from future trips.

This gallery is presented in "blog" style. A large thumbnail is displayed for each image, along with a detailed caption explaining how I intended to express my ideas. If you click on the large thumbnail, you can see it in its full size, as well as leave comments and read the comments of others. I hope you will be able to participate in the dialogue. I welcome your comments, suggestions, ideas, and questions, and will be delighted to respond.