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The Traveling Photographer by Sandra Petrowitz

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9 Everything Is Relative

A Sense of Scale

Everything is relative, even size – what one person considers large, another may consider small, and vice versa, depending on the reference figure. As viewers of a photograph, our own background knowledge helps us to evaluate the size of the elements present in a picture. It can be nearly impossible to detect the actual size of an object if a viewer’s subconscious can’t recall any information to help him or her determine the size of an object and the photographer doesn’t supply any point of reference.

It’s possible to employ this effect deliberately. For example, clues about size are often left out of ...

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