Gestalt in Photography by Aischa Erten is a really good introduction to practical implications of the Gestalt school of psychology (specifically, the Berlin Gestalt school, but I’m saving that for another book post). Erten has released this book via Kindle Unlimited, so I took advantage of that service to read her book.
Overall, I liked the book and found the concept of showing photographs along with describing the concepts and principles of Gestalt as an effective approach. When reading through the book, not all of the descriptions were particularly clear, but once you saw the photographs and linked them back to the concepts, Erten’s descriptions made more sense.
Speaking of photographs, I appreciate the effort Erten put into using photos to describe these principles. Most of the time, we use abstract shapes and colors to visualize these ideas, but Erten includes dozens of unique photographs to explain principles like common region, proximity, and synchrony. I also appreciate that each of the principles includes both positive examples illustrating the principles in action, as well as negative principles showing what an image looks like when the principle is violated. This really helps solidify the concept.
One thing I do wish had been different is that all of the photographs for a principle are in a block at the end and all of the descriptions come before the photo itself. I do wish the photographs had been inline with the descriptions, as then I would not have needed to flip back and forth between pages to link her words with the photographs. That’s a minor critique, though, and I highly recommend this book to anybody who wants to learn about what the Gestalt school can tell us about how humans process information.
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