Contrast is for your eye and mind – Juxtaposition

My last post on Contrast was diving into Tonal Contrast, and Complementary Color Contrast. This time we are going to dive a step deeper into contrast; a place with interpretations, emotions and feelings. We move from a contrast that impacts how our brain comprehend to contrast that spins the mind and let fantasies begin.

Juxtaposition, my bet is that it is not a term that you use every day. Not because it is all that difficult; it can be applied with brutal force or quite subtle. What it takes is an eye for situations, and sometimes an external context to the photo. When you master it you will be able to lift a seemingly boring situation up to a level where it makes sense for the spectator, and maybe even moves him. You can implement subtle message or just an interesting twist with fairly little effort.

Juxtaposition happens when there are two or more elements in a scene that either contrast with each other, or one element contributes towards the other to create an overall theme.

I think the concept is best described through examples.

In a brutal photo like the one below; is “Pain” displayed is a strong political photograph, with tremendous depth. There is Religion, Separation, Nationalism and Srebrenica post war context in one picture. The title adds to the context, and spells it out for you! For me this photo takes my imagination, it drives my thought process, questions pops up… is the man putting flows on his dead soldiers sons memorial ?, who am I; so clearly fenced outside Europe.


My next example is much lighter hearted; and still, Juxtaposition is stepping in taking our mind at a spin. All it takes is a little red chili, some fresh herbs and a lime; and our minds starts to ponder. What’s cooking, its likely high quality foods, I bet it going to be delicious.


In my final example, is a situation taken from our last Chilean National Day Party. Juxtaposition plays a strong role here; it is not a particular interesting photo, yet has something. It makes the viewer ponder, why are they celebrating, two flags sub framed, one Danish and one Chilean. Why is one flag bigger than the other, what is it that brings the generations together. Clearly the drink plays a role. Our mind is set out on a journey; the viewer is adding to the photo, Juxtaposition is the reason, forcefully initiated by the title, which adds context to the picture.

Juxtaposition is all about making the viewer ponder; why did the photographer choose a certain perspective; sparking the thought process alive. Different objects that comes together with strong visual weight; making the viewer ponder and thereby adding something to the photo that is not there.

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