Ambiguous Image

Gregory R. states, that images have a double reality; simple lines on a page can appear to be something completely different. An example of the phenomenon that he is describing, would be that of a simple formation of lines and dots, that are often interpreted by the human mind as a humanoid face; when in reality it is nothing more than lines and dots. It’s merely our minds that chance the meaning of the image, in order to distort it into something more familiar. There are many variations on this example, as can be seen in the image bellow:
ilu1This ambiguous image has been drawn in such a way in which it appears to be both the  head of a Native American Chief and, simultaneously, an Inuit figure in the snow. Once you have seen one of the images within this drawing, it is hard to train your mind to then seen it as anything else, but once you have, they seem to seamlessly flow between the two.
It is therefore easy to see how the image can confuse the viewer, and how it is easy to simple see one and not the other, upon first viewing it.
The image will also be seen quite differently from person to person, depending on their background or cultural associations. someone who may have a background or connection to either culture will immediately see either the Inuit or Native american Chief respectively.
The image may also be effected by the season, as the heat of summer and cold in the winter may affect how different people see the image due to the obvious temperature connotations.
The way in which our minds interpret simple lines and images shows how we impose meaning upon otherwise ambiguous images. This can be used within the practice of illustration to convey different meanings within complex context, and to also encourage the audience to consider the images differently in order to understand their full effect and meaning; extending this, it can also be considered in other such ways. The use of colour in illustration, for example, as the associations of certain colours and their meaning within different contexts can be drawn from this principle, adding a whole new meaning to illustrative works.

 

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