"The Whole is Other than the Sum of the Parts"
"When the perceptual system forms a "percept" or "gestalt," the whole thing has a reality of its own, independent of the parts."
"The Gestalt psychologist Kurt Koffka made a famous statement about this: "The whole is other than the sum of its parts." Some of us have probably heard or read it as, "The whole is greater than the sum of the parts."
"'This is not a principle of addition'," Koffka said. "The statement as originally worded was supposed to mean that the whole had an independent existence in the perceptual system."
When we look at photographs, most of us "see" the "whole" and view the image as its "subject matter" (flowers, scenics, still life, portrait) but virtually never consider the "parts." Of course, this is what the maker of the image intended; but what about the photos we, ourselves take. I think the more we understand about "what's in" our photos, the more adept we become at making the next and the next.
Using one of several Photoshop "Selection" tools, I can isolate and show various parts of images in ways that I find helpful to understand what makes it "tick" so-to-speak. I'd like to share that in some posted images and hope that you will find it, if not useful, then at least, interesting.
Imagine yourself standing on a rim of the Grand Canyon and wanting to photograph everything your eyes can see - your desire to do so would be typical - and your frustration over your inability to do so, would also be typical. In such a situation, a bit of a "plan" and control will be your allies. Look for shapes, colors, areas of light and dark, and narrow down the project to the "parts" as they comprise the "whole" of each of a number of selective shots as opposed to just clicking away trying to capture everything.
Even the portrait of a person or a pet can be quickly evaluated as a "combination of parts comprising a whole." A brown dog photographed against a blue sky as opposed to a gray-green tree trunk - the choice may be there if you just consider the parts available to you. A woman with a bright red sweater photographed against a green shrub as opposed to a street filled with parked cars - look for the parts and exploit the options.