It’s silly how long it’s taken me to realise this.

My latest experiments on incorporating sound waveforms into portraits have reached the idea of using negative space, with the wave shape forming an unorthodox kind of frame around the subject’s face.

Gilbert neg space portrait

A few days after playing with this idea it struck that it is visually a little similar to my final assignment for Documentary, where I used pie charts as photographic shapes.


Now, the decision to use unusual shapes to frame the photographs was made for very different reasons in each project, but it’s interesting to see that I have arrived at a similar visual treatment despite having taken entirely different routes.

I wonder, is there something about non-standard framing shapes that attracts me?

Maybe this is an avenue for wider research.


I realised today that it’s actually the third time I’ve used negative space / unusual shapes!

I used a vertical letterbox format on landscape white backdrop for an assignment on Gesture & Meaning.


So I have even more form in this particular aesthetic…!


It’s ironic that I’m studying memory given that I keep forgetting examples of when I’ve used negative space in the past. I’ve just remembered another one.

I wrote my Assignment 6 essay for Gesture & Meaning on the subject of narrative in single photographs, and titled it Joining the Dots. I created a cover image for the printed essay version for assessment submission by taking one of the examples I referenced in the essay (Don McCullin’s Shell-Shocked Marine, Hue) and deconstructing it down to the relevant parts of the image, in a visual representation of joining the dots:

shell-shocked-marine dots

So that’s now four times in less than two years that I’ve employed negative space / unorthodox shapes as a visual technique!