October 21, 2007

Holbein's anamorphosis

After reading about Holbein's anamorphosis, I began to wonder if this concept of anamorphosis can be applied to other types of photos. One such design I came up with was the use of photo collages to product larger images. Such is found at the right with a collage of John Ashcroft (why John? Because this was the best example I could find online). Quite obviously, this photo will create a different effect depending upon where on stands. If they are close to the image, they will see the individual smaller pictures whereas viewing it from a distance will portray Mr. Ashcroft. 

How does this compare to Hoblein's The Ambassadors and can we possibly compare the two for their distorted features? I honestly don't know the answer but I thought it would be worth the discussion.

3 comments:

George said...

This is an excellent example of anamorphosis that I hadn't even thought of when gathering materials for the presentation this Wednesday. Although, there is an issue with this type of image, in that, in some respect you can both be close enough to see the individual photographs making up the larger image. Anamorphosis, at least the way it is described by Latour, is completely dependent on perspective, and that the viewing of an image from one perspective makes the rest of the image incoherent or distorted. If one is able to find the distance at which one can view both the larger and smaller picture at the same time, say a visual "Middle Way" or "Golden Mean," does that imply that it cannot be an anamorphosis? If it isn't, is there another word that better describes the perceptual trick of this representation? Similarly, does the term "anamorphosis" able to be applied to those annoyingly frustrating magic eye phenomena? (they are annoying because I STILL can't see the pictures...I'm convinced its a conspiracy to drive me insane, he he he)
Similarly, if we take the issue of magic eye phenomena as the representational metaphor instead of Latour's discussion of anamorphism, what does that imply for the separate spheres of representation by scientists and people of faith?

Meg said...

Oddly enough...I was at Penn State this weekend and there in the hotel lobby was a huge wall disply "anamorphosis" picture of their mascot, the mountain lion made up of tiny alumni photos...

Through A Retina Darkly said...

What I think is similar across Latour's and these examples is that position and perspective are manipulated to create a special situation. You can't look at the tiny pictures *and* see the big picture simultaneously. While Holbein's is slightly different, in that it is the angle of orientation to the surface, these examples also depend on "gestalt shift" for their intelligibility.

Good examples.