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

Started 3 months ago | Discussions thread
lilBuddha Veteran Member • Posts: 4,376
Re: What is (and is not) "Negative Space"? (And how do you use it.)

stevo23 wrote:

Just Tim 4 wrote:

stevo23 wrote:

So then there isn't really "negative space" as an actual or useful concept, just figure to ground or greatest contrast.

This is the part I don't understand, (or is it because I fail to communicate the idea properly?), that on forums we don't question our base assumptions or the way in which we see. We generally assume that because we see something in an image that it is an intrinsic property of an image and is therefore contained within an image and can be categorised and labelled. We also view the opinions of others and instinctively try to fit them within our own base assumptions. We try to fit new ideas into our current understanding rather then see that the concepts are actually about changing and questioning that viewpoint and understanding.

It doesn't seem to occur to some that the concept of negative space is perceptual and that it may in fact be the act of looking and seeking to apply an order to gain an understanding of what we see that creates it.

It also has nothing to do with contrast as I can just as easily use an outline drawing.

That you can't see past the object and it's reality is your shortcoming, and a common one. You see and recognise the object without questioning why you see and recognise the reality of the object in a 2D representation.

I understand that when I draw a shape I am actually creating two shapes, a positive and a negative form, even though the viewer generally only sees the one. That the relationship between the positive and negative forms reveals the shape and can be a powerful tool. I find it an incredibly useful concept in understanding the true nature of 2D representation and how people see and interpret images.

Not sure I get what you're saying in all this. Nice photos here - negative space? They seem to stray from that idea a good bit. Now you're showing a lot of other techniques.

No image must be one technique or idea.

What I'm advocating here is that negative space isn't a "thing". Rather, design techniques are and they are sometimes interpreted as "he's using negative space to do xyz" when in reality, something else is going on.

The artworld accepts negative space as a thing. Why do you think it isn't and what else do you think is going on?

And then students think that negative space is a thing and they create a lot of schlock because they don't get what's really happening from a symmetry/design/story standpoint.

Art students create a lot of schlock due to inexperience.

Let's walk through the example photos in this post.

The banks of the river are negative space. Why? Because the relative lack of detail and the contrasting value allow the river to stand out and be a greater focus.

In this one, the sky is negative space for the same reasons the banks were in the above image. The bright, featureless nature of the sky brings the tree trees into prominence.

This last one doesn't have negative space. Both the foreground structure and the background vista have too much of interest to recede enough to be considered negative space.

It is simple. The positive space is that which the eye is drawn tow and the negative is that which, by its uniformity and contrast, pushes the eye away.

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