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

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Goethe
Goethe Senior Member • Posts: 1,256
Re: What is (and is not) "Negative Space"? (And how do you use it.)

stevo23 wrote:

Goethe wrote:

stevo23 wrote:

Goethe wrote:

stevo23 wrote:

There are several responses of yours I could reply to here but I am picking this one simply due to a lack of available time to address things.

Just Tim 4 wrote:

stevo23 wrote:

...What I'm advocating here is that negative space isn't a "thing".

Negative space is a thing. It is way past being accepted in the world and market of Art. Not being able to understand something should never allow you to doubt its existence, especially in the face of it being an established artistic idea/format/concept.

no lack of understanding of what people call it and how they use it. But like the highly accepted idea of rule of thirds, it obscures principles what people should be seeing or doing.

I'm glad you mentioned rule of thirds. Now that is a compositional tool. It is a simple, easy to comprehend shorthand rule to help new photographers understand the most basic aspects of what makes a good image.

And exactly what is it that makes the rule of thirds work? Can you actually explain that?

And like all rules such as itself it is expected to be broken by advanced practitioners.

Negative space is not a compositional rule. It is an artistic tool. Not sure why you dont seem to get that.

Oh, so veiled derision now?

Look, here's the thing. A negative space photograph is one in which the negative space in an image is specifically created in such a way as to isolate or draw attention to the main subject. In this way, and in some disagreement with another poster, negative space can indeed almost become the subject itself. Because you are using the empty, the negative, to tell the narrative.

And yet another use of the term. Is this the compositional version of micro contrast?

Um, no. I starting to think the best example of negative space is this conversation.

Don't get so worked up about this. We were having a conversation and now you've descended into derisive speech. There's no need for that.

You seem to be grappling with how such a thing is different from composition. As a shorthand version of this I simply recommend you think of negative space as a compositional tool. I mean, it isn't, but it's not going to hurt anyone if you want to think of it that way.

But understanding negative space and how it effects an image goes much, much deeper than that. Try contemplating the void, the empty spaces. Look not only at the shapes in your environment, but the spaces between them. Use these swaths of nothingness as a canvas to isolate a subject or an idea.

is it really that deep? Or is it more deep? I don’t see clarity coming from anyone yet.

Yes. It is deep. As deep as the artist using it can make it. It is a tool, a mindset, a storytelling device. When used by a skilled photographer it can help to create deep and moving imagery that stand out for their starkness. Yes, it is deep. As should be every input into this craft of ours. Well, mine at least.

More veiled derision?

If for whatever reason though some deeper insight is not revealed to you then just say its a compositional tool and call it a day.

I mean, it isn't that, but nobody else's photography will suffer for it.

No, it's a concept that helps you organise marks and shapes on a 2D surface with an understanding of how they will be interpreted.

Not sure what you mean here. Why would you not organize around a grid and the primary concepts of composition?

Rather, design techniques are and they are sometimes interpreted as "he's using negative space to do xyz"

Yet you still try and talk about it as a *thing*, he's not using negative space but organising shapes and tones with an understanding of how you will interpret what is the *object* and what is the *background*.

I think something is being missed when you put it that way. There has to be more going on or you can end up with mud.

when in reality, something else 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.

Negative space is an understanding that in 2D images your audience will make some base assumptions when they view. One of those assumptions is that we separate *subject* or *object* from the *background*. It's about how we organise elements in an image to form a logical understanding that's consistent with our memory. You can play with these ideas and your audience's assumptions as demonstrated in the link in this post here:

https://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/62913106

You're elevating negative space more than I would and I don't think it works that way.

A much more cogent argument is that you are devaluing negative space because you dont understand it.

Yea, nice dismissal. Aside from being condescending, you just made it clear you’re unable to really advance the idea clearly.

Again, your failure to understand what I have said is not me failing to advance the idea. I advanced the idea in both words and images.

I have absolutely no personal responsibility as to your artistic education. I also have no moral obligation to overcome your reticence concerning a more advanced artistic conception you seem extremely reluctant to believe. At this point you seem merely to be argumentative for the sake of being such.

I have provided visual examples of my art featuring this technique. Others here have as well. Many here have also provided detailed explanations of negative space and its application. If you dont get it, or you disagree with it, you are under no obligation to believe what was presented to you.

I think you need to come back to this when you can be more civil. Not sure why this is upsetting, but I can assure you this is civil on my part.

I have provided visual examples of my art featuring this technique. Others here have as well. Many here have also provided detailed explanations of negative space and its application. If you dont get it, or you disagree with it, or you feel as though you are being maligned, you are under no obligation to believe what was presented to you.

There, fixed it.

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stevo23 Forum Pro • Posts: 22,741
Re: What is (and is not) "Negative Space"? (And how do you use it.)

Goethe wrote:

stevo23 wrote:

Goethe wrote:

stevo23 wrote:

Goethe wrote:

stevo23 wrote:

There are several responses of yours I could reply to here but I am picking this one simply due to a lack of available time to address things.

Just Tim 4 wrote:

stevo23 wrote:

...What I'm advocating here is that negative space isn't a "thing".

Negative space is a thing. It is way past being accepted in the world and market of Art. Not being able to understand something should never allow you to doubt its existence, especially in the face of it being an established artistic idea/format/concept.

no lack of understanding of what people call it and how they use it. But like the highly accepted idea of rule of thirds, it obscures principles what people should be seeing or doing.

I'm glad you mentioned rule of thirds. Now that is a compositional tool. It is a simple, easy to comprehend shorthand rule to help new photographers understand the most basic aspects of what makes a good image.

And exactly what is it that makes the rule of thirds work? Can you actually explain that?

And like all rules such as itself it is expected to be broken by advanced practitioners.

Negative space is not a compositional rule. It is an artistic tool. Not sure why you dont seem to get that.

Oh, so veiled derision now?

Look, here's the thing. A negative space photograph is one in which the negative space in an image is specifically created in such a way as to isolate or draw attention to the main subject. In this way, and in some disagreement with another poster, negative space can indeed almost become the subject itself. Because you are using the empty, the negative, to tell the narrative.

And yet another use of the term. Is this the compositional version of micro contrast?

Um, no. I starting to think the best example of negative space is this conversation.

Don't get so worked up about this. We were having a conversation and now you've descended into derisive speech. There's no need for that.

You seem to be grappling with how such a thing is different from composition. As a shorthand version of this I simply recommend you think of negative space as a compositional tool. I mean, it isn't, but it's not going to hurt anyone if you want to think of it that way.

But understanding negative space and how it effects an image goes much, much deeper than that. Try contemplating the void, the empty spaces. Look not only at the shapes in your environment, but the spaces between them. Use these swaths of nothingness as a canvas to isolate a subject or an idea.

is it really that deep? Or is it more deep? I don’t see clarity coming from anyone yet.

Yes. It is deep. As deep as the artist using it can make it. It is a tool, a mindset, a storytelling device. When used by a skilled photographer it can help to create deep and moving imagery that stand out for their starkness. Yes, it is deep. As should be every input into this craft of ours. Well, mine at least.

More veiled derision?

If for whatever reason though some deeper insight is not revealed to you then just say its a compositional tool and call it a day.

I mean, it isn't that, but nobody else's photography will suffer for it.

No, it's a concept that helps you organise marks and shapes on a 2D surface with an understanding of how they will be interpreted.

Not sure what you mean here. Why would you not organize around a grid and the primary concepts of composition?

Rather, design techniques are and they are sometimes interpreted as "he's using negative space to do xyz"

Yet you still try and talk about it as a *thing*, he's not using negative space but organising shapes and tones with an understanding of how you will interpret what is the *object* and what is the *background*.

I think something is being missed when you put it that way. There has to be more going on or you can end up with mud.

when in reality, something else 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.

Negative space is an understanding that in 2D images your audience will make some base assumptions when they view. One of those assumptions is that we separate *subject* or *object* from the *background*. It's about how we organise elements in an image to form a logical understanding that's consistent with our memory. You can play with these ideas and your audience's assumptions as demonstrated in the link in this post here:

https://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/62913106

You're elevating negative space more than I would and I don't think it works that way.

A much more cogent argument is that you are devaluing negative space because you dont understand it.

Yea, nice dismissal. Aside from being condescending, you just made it clear you’re unable to really advance the idea clearly.

Again, your failure to understand what I have said is not me failing to advance the idea. I advanced the idea in both words and images.

I have absolutely no personal responsibility as to your artistic education. I also have no moral obligation to overcome your reticence concerning a more advanced artistic conception you seem extremely reluctant to believe. At this point you seem merely to be argumentative for the sake of being such.

I have provided visual examples of my art featuring this technique. Others here have as well. Many here have also provided detailed explanations of negative space and its application. If you dont get it, or you disagree with it, you are under no obligation to believe what was presented to you.

I think you need to come back to this when you can be more civil. Not sure why this is upsetting, but I can assure you this is civil on my part.

I have provided visual examples of my art featuring this technique. Others here have as well. Many here have also provided detailed explanations of negative space and its application. If you dont get it, or you disagree with it, or you feel as though you are being maligned, you are under no obligation to believe what was presented to you.

There, fixed it.

Not so much maligned as find it interesting that someone challenges a sacred cow concept that is mostly bunk and guys seem to get upset like it's a religious thing and starts calling (me) people tossers and the like. You guys are heavily invested in this.

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ToxicTabasco
ToxicTabasco Senior Member • Posts: 2,465
Re: What is (and is not) "Negative Space"? (And how do you use it.)

Good question.  The answer to all of your questions can be found on the online videos.  And some of those videos covers several of those question.

Nevertheless, how I use deadspace is to find a balance for it with the specific subjects and compositions.  And, sometimes, Deadspace can create emotional drama.  All depends on the scene.  Not everything works well with deadspace.  And, you'll learn that over time, and experience using deadspace.

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lilBuddha Veteran Member • Posts: 4,376
Re: What is (and is not) "Negative Space"? (And how do you use it.)
2

stevo23 wrote:

Not so much maligned as find it interesting that someone challenges a sacred cow concept that is mostly bunk and guys seem to get upset like it's a religious thing and starts calling (me) people tossers and the like. You guys are heavily invested in this.

This is an internet discussion forum, we are discussing your lack of comprehension.

It is a welcome break from "Is the sharpness of this mobile phone photo computationally better for micro-contrast 3Dpop in the decline of the dlsr and proof that canikon and fujisonic suck whilst the camera world heads for extinction and why we should be putting film in our smartphones."

Krav Maga
Krav Maga Senior Member • Posts: 3,007
Re: What is (and is not) "Negative Space"? (And how do you use it.)

Negative space does not need to be complicated or be represented with lop-sided imagery. Look at a photo. Identify the main subject of said photo. Anything that isn't the main subject is negative space.

That's it in a nutshell. No more complicated than that.

What can seem to add complexity to the concept is what some people may choose to do with the negative space or what they put in it compositionally. Along with the fact that the main subject of a photo can extend across the frame; many cityscapes can be a good example of this (positive space). But at the end of the day it's no more complex than what I pointed out in the last sentence of my first paragraph.

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lilBuddha Veteran Member • Posts: 4,376
Re: What is (and is not) "Negative Space"? (And how do you use it.)

Krav Maga wrote:

Negative space does not need to be complicated or be represented with lop-sided imagery. Look at a photo. Identify the main subject of said photo. Anything that isn't the main subject is negative space.

But it is more complicated than this. Negative space is one technique and one can have a distinct subject with no negative space.

stevo23 Forum Pro • Posts: 22,741
Re: What is (and is not) "Negative Space"? (And how do you use it.)

lilBuddha wrote:

stevo23 wrote:

Not so much maligned as find it interesting that someone challenges a sacred cow concept that is mostly bunk and guys seem to get upset like it's a religious thing and starts calling (me) people tossers and the like. You guys are heavily invested in this.

This is an internet discussion forum, we are discussing your lack of comprehension.

I comprehend all of it. I disagree with most of it.

It is a welcome break from "Is the sharpness of this mobile phone photo computationally better for micro-contrast 3Dpop in the decline of the dlsr and proof that canikon and fujisonic suck whilst the camera world heads for extinction and why we should be putting film in our smartphones."

Good, discussions are great. But calling someone a tosser is bad form.

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Krav Maga
Krav Maga Senior Member • Posts: 3,007
Re: What is (and is not) "Negative Space"? (And how do you use it.)

lilBuddha wrote:

Krav Maga wrote:

Negative space does not need to be complicated or be represented with lop-sided imagery. Look at a photo. Identify the main subject of said photo. Anything that isn't the main subject is negative space.

But it is more complicated than this. Negative space is one technique and one can have a distinct subject with no negative space.

No, it's not.

Also you left out the part where I mentioned positive space; something you allude to. But it's a very simple concept.

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lilBuddha Veteran Member • Posts: 4,376
Re: What is (and is not) "Negative Space"? (And how do you use it.)

stevo23 wrote:

lilBuddha wrote:

stevo23 wrote:

Not so much maligned as find it interesting that someone challenges a sacred cow concept that is mostly bunk and guys seem to get upset like it's a religious thing and starts calling (me) people tossers and the like. You guys are heavily invested in this.

This is an internet discussion forum, we are discussing your lack of comprehension.

I comprehend all of it. I disagree with most of it.

It is a welcome break from "Is the sharpness of this mobile phone photo computationally better for micro-contrast 3Dpop in the decline of the dlsr and proof that canikon and fujisonic suck whilst the camera world heads for extinction and why we should be putting film in our smartphones."

Good, discussions are great. But calling someone a tosser is bad form.

Take that up with the person who did.

lilBuddha Veteran Member • Posts: 4,376
Re: What is (and is not) "Negative Space"? (And how do you use it.)

Krav Maga wrote:

lilBuddha wrote:

Krav Maga wrote:

Negative space does not need to be complicated or be represented with lop-sided imagery. Look at a photo. Identify the main subject of said photo. Anything that isn't the main subject is negative space.

But it is more complicated than this. Negative space is one technique and one can have a distinct subject with no negative space.

No, it's not.

Also you left out the part where I mentioned positive space; something you allude to. But it's a very simple concept.

Application can be more complicated than concept.

For instance, leading lines. They can be subtle background, they can be so strong as to be part of the subject or they can sit in between. And it is that space between that complicates the concept.

Just Tim 4
Just Tim 4 Contributing Member • Posts: 711
Re: What is (and is not) "Negative Space"? (And how do you use it.)
1

stevo23 wrote:

Good, discussions are great. But calling someone a tosser is bad form.

If you're talking about me then I think you might be guilty of glancing and jumping to [the wrong] assumptions...

It's a quote from a Norwegian movie, and wasn't really directed at anybody.

stevo23 Forum Pro • Posts: 22,741
Re: What is (and is not) "Negative Space"? (And how do you use it.)

lilBuddha wrote:

stevo23 wrote:

lilBuddha wrote:

stevo23 wrote:

Not so much maligned as find it interesting that someone challenges a sacred cow concept that is mostly bunk and guys seem to get upset like it's a religious thing and starts calling (me) people tossers and the like. You guys are heavily invested in this.

This is an internet discussion forum, we are discussing your lack of comprehension.

I comprehend all of it. I disagree with most of it.

It is a welcome break from "Is the sharpness of this mobile phone photo computationally better for micro-contrast 3Dpop in the decline of the dlsr and proof that canikon and fujisonic suck whilst the camera world heads for extinction and why we should be putting film in our smartphones."

Good, discussions are great. But calling someone a tosser is bad form.

Take that up with the person who did.

Then take your own advice.

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stevo23 Forum Pro • Posts: 22,741
Re: What is (and is not) "Negative Space"? (And how do you use it.)

Just Tim 4 wrote:

stevo23 wrote:

Good, discussions are great. But calling someone a tosser is bad form.

If you're talking about me then I think you might be guilty of glancing and jumping to [the wrong] assumptions...

It's a quote from a Norwegian movie, and wasn't really directed at anybody.

Yes, I know the reference. But the context in which you used it puts it more direct.

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Just Tim 4
Just Tim 4 Contributing Member • Posts: 711
Re: What is (and is not) "Negative Space"? (And how do you use it.)

stevo23 wrote:

Just Tim 4 wrote:

stevo23 wrote:

Good, discussions are great. But calling someone a tosser is bad form.

If you're talking about me then I think you might be guilty of glancing and jumping to [the wrong] assumptions...

It's a quote from a Norwegian movie, and wasn't really directed at anybody.

Yes, I know the reference. But the context in which you used it puts it more direct.

Hmmm...

So if you know it then you are well aware that there is NO reference to the US word *tosser* or it's connotations...

...And yet you chose to use that mis-understanding and act as though you were personally slighted. Sounds like an under-bridge arguing technique to me.

I'm offski, ciao.

stevo23 Forum Pro • Posts: 22,741
Re: What is (and is not) "Negative Space"? (And how do you use it.)

Just Tim 4 wrote:

stevo23 wrote:

Just Tim 4 wrote:

stevo23 wrote:

Good, discussions are great. But calling someone a tosser is bad form.

If you're talking about me then I think you might be guilty of glancing and jumping to [the wrong] assumptions...

It's a quote from a Norwegian movie, and wasn't really directed at anybody.

Yes, I know the reference. But the context in which you used it puts it more direct.

Hmmm...

So if you know it then you are well aware that there is NO reference to the US word *tosser* or it's connotations...

Tosser as a US word? Do tell...

So now you're trying to tell me that you were giving a compliment? Then I suppose I owe you a thanks?

...And yet you chose to use that mis-understanding and act as though you were personally slighted. Sounds like an under-bridge arguing technique to me.

I'm offski, ciao.

Where did it go? I can't even find the quote anymore.

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Just Tim 4
Just Tim 4 Contributing Member • Posts: 711
Re: What is (and is not) "Negative Space"? (And how do you use it.)

stevo23 wrote:

So now you're trying to tell me that you were giving a compliment? Then I suppose I owe you a thanks?

Actually I wasn't talking to you at all, I was sharing a visual allusion with a different poster.

And now you want to continue an argument on the absurd notion that I owe you for your own [seemingly deliberate] mis-interpretation and mis-understanding.

Give it a break, please?

stevo23 Forum Pro • Posts: 22,741
Re: What is (and is not) "Negative Space"? (And how do you use it.)

Just Tim 4 wrote:

stevo23 wrote:

So now you're trying to tell me that you were giving a compliment? Then I suppose I owe you a thanks?

Actually I wasn't talking to you at all, I was sharing a visual allusion with a different poster.

And now you want to continue an argument on the absurd notion that I owe you for your own [seemingly deliberate] mis-interpretation and mis-understanding.

Give it a break, please?

Couldn't even go back and confirm - can't find it. Thought you were skiing?

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Krav Maga
Krav Maga Senior Member • Posts: 3,007
Re: What is (and is not) "Negative Space"? (And how do you use it.)

lilBuddha wrote:

Krav Maga wrote:

lilBuddha wrote:

Krav Maga wrote:

Negative space does not need to be complicated or be represented with lop-sided imagery. Look at a photo. Identify the main subject of said photo. Anything that isn't the main subject is negative space.

But it is more complicated than this. Negative space is one technique and one can have a distinct subject with no negative space.

No, it's not.

Also you left out the part where I mentioned positive space; something you allude to. But it's a very simple concept.

Application can be more complicated than concept.

For instance, leading lines. They can be subtle background, they can be so strong as to be part of the subject or they can sit in between. And it is that space between that complicates the concept.

Again, you're way over complicating a simple concept. You're talking about what one can do with negative space, not what it is. Again, in a nutshell, negative space is everything in the frame that is not the main subject of the photo.

Really, that's it.

You're talking about choices one can make regarding negative space. That's a whole different thing, but it still doesn't negate the simplicity of what it is. A needle and thread is a simple thing that can be used to create highly complex things.

Of course, positive space not withstanding as that't another topic, too.

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Goethe
Goethe Senior Member • Posts: 1,256
Re: What is (and is not) "Negative Space"? (And how do you use it.)

stevo23 wrote:

Just Tim 4 wrote:

stevo23 wrote:

So now you're trying to tell me that you were giving a compliment? Then I suppose I owe you a thanks?

Actually I wasn't talking to you at all, I was sharing a visual allusion with a different poster.

And now you want to continue an argument on the absurd notion that I owe you for your own [seemingly deliberate] mis-interpretation and mis-understanding.

Give it a break, please?

Couldn't even go back and confirm - can't find it. Thought you were skiing?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=angyfkPmHMo&lc=z13runxygpfhcbdcr23dwdqqzpuye1s3k

The reference is about 1:40 in.

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lost alaskan
lost alaskan Contributing Member • Posts: 906
Re: What is (and is not) "Negative Space"? (And how do you use it.)

And that's when the fight started....

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