Open

by damned truths

submit your photo


Hall of Fame
View past winners from this year

Please participate in Meta
and help us grow.

Take the 2-minute tour ×
Photography Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for professional, enthusiast and amateur photographers. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I’m wondering if there is a term for the kind of photos where the subject and the background together form an optical illusion that they are connected.

The classic example is a photo of a person holding their hand out so that it looks like they are holding a large structure in the distant background in their palm.

Is there a term for this type of photograph?

share|improve this question

2 Answers 2

up vote 10 down vote accepted

The term you're looking for is 'forced perspective photography.' It's essentially a technique that exploits the limitations of human visual perception, thus creating an optical illusion where objects are made to appear to be a different size than they really are, or a different distance from the camera than they really are.

In addition to the more 'gimmicky' uses of forced perspective in photography, it is a technique that is frequently used in architectural photography in order to create scale, such as a real estate photographer making the rooms in a small house appear larger than it actually is, or a photographer making a space seem more 'epic' than it may actually be.

Though it's slightly off-topic for photography, I'll also mention that forced perspective is a frequently used technique in film and can be observed quite readily in most action movies as the technique is used to make the actors appear closer to danger (such as punches and explosions) than they really are. One of the more 'well known' uses of this technique in recent history is in Peter Jackson's 'Lord of the Rings' trilogy, where the director cleverly used forced perspective to make the actors playing hobbits appear smaller than the other actors.

share|improve this answer
1  
Wonderful, thanks! Now I can create an aptly named folder to store them all in. –  Synetech Mar 24 '11 at 20:49
    
Quick question: what about pictures where there is no real distance or depth involved like this one; is that still forced-perspective photography? –  Synetech Mar 25 '11 at 21:46
    
Nope. There's no forced perspective there. Not sure there's any sort of technical name for the photography in the picture you attached... –  Jay Lance Photography Mar 25 '11 at 23:38

Perspective Photography, or, Forced Perspective Photography.

Here is a flickr pool with many many examples.

This is a good starting point if you're interested in learning how to apply this technique with your own photography.

share|improve this answer
    
I like a lot of the examples, especially the guy puking out bokeh (source) –  Evan Krall Mar 24 '11 at 5:56
    
+1 for providing good references –  labnut Mar 24 '11 at 7:05
    
Great, thanks. I actually have the bokeh photo already. :-) –  Synetech Mar 24 '11 at 20:49

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.