What is (and is not) "Negative Space"? (And how do you use it.)

Started 3 months ago | Discussions thread
tex Veteran Member • Posts: 7,899
Negative space is everything but the subject's form.

It's a visual art term/concept.  It's easiest seen in photography in shallow dof images where the background is a complete blur, or in BIF images when the bird is against a blank sky, or "Rembrandt" style portraits, or Avedon style ones against a blank background, & etc.

It's possible to have virtually no negative space, for instance in an image with deep dof where the subject is spread out throughout the frame.  It's possible to have patchy negative space.

It's easier in the other visual arts because everything in the frame is put there deliberately, including the negative space.  In photography, things get a bit more complicated, because negative space doesn't really exist in nature---it's an aesthetic , formal construct of composition.  There is no composition in nature.  Inasmuch as photography "just" captures nature, and that the photographer doesn't really place things there (typically), the idea is a bit dodgier in photography.  But it can still easily exist.

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tex_andrews, co-founder and webmaster of The LightZone Project, an all-volunteer group providing the free and open source LightZone photo editing software.
"Photography is the product of complete alienation" Marcel Proust
"I would like to see photography make people despise painting until something else will make photography unbearable." Marcel Duchamp

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