Wednesday, 19 April 2017

P = Playing with perspective and perception

To state the bleedin' obvious, pretty much everything is a matter of perspective. 
Point of view.
How we perceive the world. 

Technically, perspective is the way we view the world through our experiences and beliefs. While perception is how we interpret the world through our senses.

The guy in the image, who looks frighteningly as if he has a sword plunged into his left eyeball is actually using some sort of 17th century way of measuring a copse. It's about focus on the copse (trees), not the corpse (dude with skewered eyeball). Perception.

But then, of course, if we're talking about representing the world in art, perspective can mean something altogether different. Then it's about angle, the literal point from which you see and the way things appear to us up close or far away, or from a different angle.

Engraving by T Cook in the style of W Hogarth.  Credit Wellcome Library, London.
The original engraving served as the frontispiece to Dr Brook Taylor's Method of Perspective Made Easy", 1754 
I absolutely love the image above. Look closely and you will see it's filled with crazy wrong things that happen when an artist's sense of  perspective is out of whack. It's like a Georgian version of Spot What. 
Can you find the:
  • dog improbably about to be hooked on fishing line
  • trees obscuring sign which is actually in front of them
  • man impossibly lighting traveller's pipe 
  • suicidal cow
  • problem with the engineering of the bridge.

Artists present unique perspectives of the world that can change the way we perceive it.
These fascinating gorgeous objects were specifically created to challenge our views of global health crises.

Fragile, glossy and to be absolutely honest, if they weren't carefully protected in glass cases I'm sure they'd be regularly touched ... because they are oh-so tactile, these are part of a series of amazing sculptures called Glass Microbiology by Luke Jerram.  

Magnified to almost a million times their size, and rendered transparent, he gives us a look at swine flu, HIV, malaria, small pox and E-coli.

And I have had lots of fun photographing them from different angles and editing various shots in multiple ways. But I won't bore you with those.

I'm including this handsome wood engraving of an architect's perspective view and floor plan from 1852 for no other reason than the name of the building it represents.

This is the Asylum for Worthy and Decayed Freemasons. 
Not bothered by perceptions of political correctness back then, eh!

During the month of April, I am participating in the Blogging from A–Z Challenge.

My posts will all feature images of and by the Wellcome Collection, Euston, London: the free destination for the incurably curious.


  1. Fascinating post, Wendy. I enjoyed all the pics and various "perspectives"!

    *Visiting from A-Z*

    1. Thanks. Hope you're enjoying A to Z. Forgive me if I don't visit you till I get back to London as we only have dodgy Internet.

  2. Wonderful post. The pictures are brilliant, I was completely absorbed looking for the suicidal cow. And a study of microbiology in glass---using beauty to display and engage with things we can't see but scare us to pieces. I really enjoyed it.

    1. Too kind. I had lots of fun finding all the pics.
      Good luck with A to Z.

  3. What a delightfully fun post. I might never think about perspective in the same way again. And I'm certainly going to wonder if I'm worthy and decayed.

  4. Fascinating stuff. The top picture on perspective reminded me of Anno Mitsumasa's fabulously illustrated books. His wooden alphabet characters are intriguing Anno's alphabet

    1. What a gorgeous book. Thanks for introducing me to it. I'm back in London, with efficient wi-fi, after a break in Belgium, so I'm just catching up on all my A-Z reading now. we have had patchy (at best) Internet access and I'm a fat fingered typist so botch things up aplenty on my phone. Sorry for neglecting you.

  5. YES! I am going to start addressing all my best friends as, "Oh Worthy and Decayed One!"
    (We're old enough that I can get away with this...)

    1. It's a ripper expression. I'm wondering if they had to both... worthy AND decayed to qualify. I reckon I 'd be on the decayed scale, but worthy... not so much.

  6. I am glad you pointed out those things in the picture for me to find. Very cool. I love the name of that asylum. Couldn't you just imagine how entertaining it would be to go there for tea?

  7. Those are really cool sculptures. Very innovative and beautiful. The painting does look interesting note that you have mentioned the skewed perspective. Absolutely enjoyed reading your post ��

  8. What an original name for the asylum. If you have to be decayed, then it helps if you are worthy as well!
    I am not to good at seeing perspective so glad you pointed them out!! :-)

  9. I'm sure you're very good at perspective, Judy. You take photos that prove it. Yeah, I think I fail on the worthy scale. Lucky I'm not a Freemason,eh!

  10. That man was quite the collector. Quite charming, Wendy! I am mesmerized by the larger than life Luke Jerram models! Imagine when the light twinkles off them!

  11. Sir Henry has led me to readinf about the psychology of collecting. Down the rabbit hole I go...

  12. I went so far as to click on the picture and enlarge it. Church looks cattywampus as well! My whole theme was perspectives...the point of view kind.

  13. Cattywampus.... Great word, but you're gonna have to translate that from Texan to Australian for me...