I wrote this in a FaceBook post on December 23rd.
As one trawls the internet for visual images (of which there are trillions. I am so glad I am alive when the internet existed!) on Instagram, flickr, FaceBook and so forth one occasionally comes across a person who has just got it. They have the look. You know they have the look but you can’t explain what the look is. They have the “X” factor. In their display of photographs there have many, many images that just ‘speak to you’ (there is no other way to put it.) For this occasional person it is not just a lucky photograph but there is something about the person being photographed.
I have delved into this murky world of the unconscious and unknown intuition and the look, at Fotographia on my website. It seeks to articulate the psychology of this. It is a cumbersome explanation to say the least but how else do you go about explaining the unexplainable.
I came across some research which reported the following about observing surrealist art:
It seems we are battling with the same question. It is acknowledged there are some images – artistic or photographic – that effect people in a special way. There is something about the image that is more than just a ‘pretty picture’ that gives it the ‘X’ factor. The researchers above say such images allow people to enter a dream like state similar to the unconscious.
A view which I have contemplated and sought to explain as well. But I have gone further and said images that allow for the completion of the gestalt in the person’s mind will also have a special impact. Or how some women will use their hair for the hijab effect. One is not allowed to see the whole image by using the hair as a veil. One could say this can create a sense of mystery. Or the observer will instinctually fill in the missing parts as we will all naturally complete the gestalt in our own minds and it will be completed in a positive fashion.