Germany Journal

Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Psychology, Monireh Hospital of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

2 Department of Psychology, Abarkouh Branch, Islamic Azad University, Abarkouh, Iran


Symbol" is a medium that refers the audience to a meaning beyond itself. Now there may be an intrinsic connection between the mediator and the meaning that is associated, and it is likely that there is no pre-existing connection between the two. The first possibility belongs to natural symbols derived from the womb of life, phenomena and relationships, and the second possibility belongs to completely conventional symbols. Blue is a natural symbol of our experience and interaction with the sky. In front of the narrow eyes of man, there is always a sky with infinite vastness and every day of life he witnesses the unsuccessful attempt of the eyes to swallow this boundless vastness in such a way that the more you look the more you will find the limitedness of the eyes and the infinity of the sky. This is why blue is considered a symbol of infinity, and here there is an inherent relationship between the symbol and the relevant meaning. The red color, when present in the traffic light, evokes the meaning of stopping. But such a symbol is merely a contract and a joint appointment made from a certain date between a group of people related to the subject, without any historical background.



The "symbol" in ordinary life is generally a brief reference to associate broad concepts. Ejaz is a necessity that has caused the emergence of the symbol. In most situations, there is no opportunity to explain and explain the concepts, and therefore the mediator of all understanding is necessary to objectively cultivate a broad concept in the minds of the large audience and associate the desired meaning. The flag of any country is a symbol that most concisely represents the main ideas and general cultural and political perspectives of that country and defines a meaning instead of a brief description. But in the field of art, the symbol is provided for both concise and indirect expression. As an old and accepted principle, it seems that the more indirect and implicit the artist expresses his words and ideas, the more artistically his work will be evaluated and the more the impact on the audience will be. The work of art is often expected to be like a whisper heard It may or may not, like a shout that forces itself to be heard, as if to say or say something, but not so explicitly as to be an artificial reminder. As two obvious signs, "speaking briefly" and "speaking indirectly" will lead us to a thorough critique of artistic activity and to separate it from unsuccessful non-artistic endeavors. Now the artist wants to speak in the most concise and indirect way. What better trick than using symbols to accomplish both at once. Placing a symbol in the heart of the image means providing a mechanism and structure that will quickly, concisely and implicitly reconstruct the relevant meaning in the mind of the audience. In the field of photography, there are many symbols, for example, visual elements and basic graphic forms (line, form, shape, texture, pattern and color) are familiar symbols:

  • The vertical line is a symbol of stillness, firmness and dynamism, while the horizontal line evokes stability and calm. A broken line can be a symbol of fear or extraordinary energy. Remember that broken lightning lines indicate its special energy. The curved line is a symbol of nature, wind, water and the human body can be, and the diagonal line, although it does not have the comfort of a horizontal line or the strength of a vertical line, but it induces a sense of speed and movement. In addition to the type of line, its visual weight can also be a symbol of concepts. Thick lines, which have a high visual weight, evoke more strength and power than thin lines.
  • The shape of the circle symbolizes unity, inward movement and dynamism, while the square evokes strength, stability and stillness, and reminds the triangle of speed and explicit and decisive movement. Sometimes in painting between colors and basic geometric shapes, the similarity of the symbolic function is assumed, for example, the square is similar and the function is synonymous with red, the triangle is considered synonymous with yellow, and the circle is considered synonymous with blue.
  • The visual texture of objects (Texture) can be an effective symbol. This is because a person is basically very sensitive to texture (whether tactile or visual). One of the first human perceptions in childhood is the perception of tissue, which is perceived by the sense of touch.

At older ages, a person's perception of tissue expands, and positive and negative feelings about tissue become commonplace in everyday language in terms of words such as soft, smooth, rough, subtle, and so on. These are the attributes that we use to describe and describe texture, but these attributes themselves have become symbols in our everyday language, so that by applying these special attributes of texture to other phenomena, their symbolic use is used to the fullest: We have heard a gentle woman, a harsh voice, a smooth song, etc. In general, it can be said that in the field of literature, words related to texture are used as verbal symbols to associate some special concepts or feelings, and in the field of image by showing texture itself. As a visual symbol, certain concepts or feelings are reconstructed and referred to. If we fill our picture frame with pieces of broken glass or soap bubbles or sharp stones, we awaken the viewer's mental experience from the touch of these materials, and this visual texture can thus be a symbol and a medium for meaningful recollection. One of the most important visual elements that can have a highly symbolic function is the "pattern". Patterns are formed when lines, shapes, forms, or textures are repeated over and over again in more or less similar sequences and occupy the entire surface of the frame. If we look at the parking lot from the roof of a tall building, you will see a pattern of cars parked next to each other, or a pattern of more or less similar packages placed inside the shelves as you walk through a supermarket. When the viewer is confronted with a pattern, instead of seeing a symbolic element separately, he receives dozens of repetitions of the same symbol, and thus the symbolic effect of that element on a particular semantic association will become more and more emphatic. Which is transmitted to the viewer by seeing an element or object with certain coordinates, is multiplied and multiplied over and over again when that element is placed in the heart of a pattern.  Patterns reinforce the symbol embedded in their constituent elements and present it to the viewer with greater intensity and strength, making the association of meaning more profound rather than more direct. Usually, one of the most important goals for composition is to create a special point or points of interest in the image, which is called the "center of interest", the point at which the whole mechanism of composition to guide the best and each How fast is the audience looking at it, but if we are trying to create a pattern, we can and are allowed to fill the whole image, without having a specific point or points of attention, all over and evenly from a recurring visual element. Seeing the symbol, perceiving the symbol and remembering the meaning that the symbol evokes is a pleasant process for the audience. It is as if this game is an accepted contract between the artist and the audience. At the beginning of this game, the artist hides it under a not so familiar face called a symbol, in order to express the meaning he wants and the word he wants to be implicit, indirect and, of course, concise, and the audience on the other side of this game with Accuracy and concentration and use of intrinsic and acquired information and knowledge, ethnic and national, individual or international, finds the face completely or relatively familiar, puts it aside, understands the hidden meaning behind it. It is an attempt to position the audience against a symbolic work from a passive and neutral position (related to when the concepts are presented to the audience by the artist without any complexity and with complete explicitness and caution of any symbol and the audience to receive it does not need to activate the mind, but only the opening of the eyes is important), it becomes an active and dynamic position, and in the existence of the work of art, the audience will have as much influence, presence and role as the artist. It is pleasant for the audience to face a symbol placed in the picture frame. Imagine that he is placed in front of a pattern and you see a frame in which a symbol has been reproduced over and over again and as a result his pleasure has increased dozens of times. But colors are more popular symbols. In the popular culture of different nations and ethnic groups, more than other visual elements, these colors have a stronger symbolic presence and their symbolic role is better known. A very important point in this discussion is that the symbolic presence and emotional impact of colors will be different when colors are seen in combination with the shape and form of objects than when they appear abstract, for example if in the background. We have shown the portrait of an old man and in the background, we have depicted a yellow car. The effect of yellow or its symbolic function can be in two ways:

  1. A) If we see the background machine as a whole, its effect on the emotions of the audience and its symbolic function depends not only on its color but also on its shape, ، whether it is clean or dirty, whether it is healthy or scrapped, whether it is new or old, and so on. Its form and form coordinates are also involved in this symbolization and influence. If the car is old and dilapidated, in relation to the old man in the foreground, it may be a symbol of the past and an old body and a defective existence, while if it is a new and healthy car, it evokes a contradiction, durability and strength of technology. A machine in conflict with the growing extinction of human existence and symbolic structures of this kind. The examples given illustrated the symbolic effect of the shape and form of the car, while the symbolic effect of the color of the car also makes sense in combination with the shape and form, and the color of the car alone cannot affect the audience or the symbol of separation. Be. In this example, if we see the yellow color of a new and healthy car, we will evoke a kind of not-so-perfected joy and happiness resulting from the current technology, and if we see the yellow color of the old and scrapped car, we will receive a symbol of lost youthful joy. In short, the color of the car will not be impressive or symbolic, regardless of its shape and form.
  2. B) If we see the background machine so blurry that we do not receive any information about its shape, form and other appearance, but only see its color and instead of a machine with all visual coordinates, see only a yellow spot behind the old man. Let's say that the effect of


color and its symbolic function is no longer related to the object to which it belongs, but only to the color itself. In such a case, the yellow spot behind the old man may be a symbol of the joy of spending time and being a server in old age in spite of all his troubles and regrets. Such a form of presence of colors is called an abstract presence. Their only color is perceived as a stain or an abstract surface in the frame. But how can the shape and form of objects and elements inside the frame be completely or partially removed and only their color be represented in the abstract? This can be done with two tricks:

  1. Record parts of the image or all of it as Out of Focus

Blurred recording of moving subjects by using slow shutter speeds (of course, there are other tricks, such as using sharpening filters such as Diffusion or Fog filter or….)

Out of focus technique

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When the photo capture process is done in such a way that we record one point for each point of the subject in the photo, the resulting image is called Focus. In the Focus image, dots and lines, which are the basic elements representing the final form and shape of the subjects, are reconstructed in the form of equivalent dots and lines, and thus the colors will be present in the form of objects and will not have an abstract function but will not be abstract. If the image of objects and subjects is not formed on the focal surface of the lens, the resulting image will be Out of focus‌. In this case, for each point of the subject, another point in the image will no longer be obtained, but a circle will be created so that the blurred and out of focus the image becomes, the larger the diameter of these circles will be. In this way, in the Out of focus image, the subject points will become circles and the subject lines will become surfaces, and these circles and surfaces will merge, expand into each other, and as a result, the exact shape of the objects in the image will not be represented. The shapes are reconstructed, and perhaps only the not-so-clear aura of their general form is visible in the image. This event causes the colors to lose their shape and form. There will no longer be the correct shape of objects in the image so that these shapes capture colors, and as a result, in an image that is out of focus, we will have abstract-colored surfaces and abstract-colored spots instead of colored objects and subjects. As a result, there will be shapes and lines without the effect of color without affecting the graphic structure. This blurring may occur throughout the image, meaning that we obtain an image throughout the Out of focus in which the colors are independently present and free from the shackles and shapes of objects, and this blurring may be only part of Include the image and the rest of the parts are still Focus. In fact, in this part of the image, the effect of colors is accompanied by the presence of shapes and forms of objects (Focus part of the photo) and in the other part, the effect of color without the presence of shapes and forms of objects and effects. The result will be obtained. The process of sharpening part of the image and blurring the rest of the image can be achieved by reducing the "depth of field" or in other words Depth of field.

Blurred image making technique

When we place the camera in front of moving subjects and use slow shutter speeds, the moving subject will be recorded as stretched or blurred. Also, when we use the Panning technique, we will have fixed subjects against blurred backgrounds. In fact, when all or part of the surface of the image is occupied by a blurred recorded subject, in these parts we will still face the phenomenon of the disappearance of shapes, details and the exact form of objects, and again colors are freed from the control of shapes. They will have an abstract and independent presence in these parts of the image. The technique of abstract color creation through blurred image capture due to the use of slower shutter speeds, although very simple, can be reaped many aesthetic benefits. The master of this type of technique is the famous photographer Ernst Haas. Using this technique, Haas has been able to capture very different, very dreamy, poetic and painting images from very common scenes. He has even succeeded in capturing blurred images of extremely violent scenes that, by eliminating the exact shapes and forms of the subjects, remain only abstract and effective colors and therefore look poetic. One of the most violent subjects and scenes that can be mentioned in the field of sports and entertainment is the scene (bullfighting). "Federico Garca Lorca," the famous Spanish writer and poet, has condemned this kind of sport and entertainment that originated in Spain: "Spain is the only country whose national sport is death". But "Ernst Haas" has been able to slow down the shutter speed, to capture poetic images of these extremely violent and terrifying scenes in which the colors, regardless of the effect of the subject and the exact shapes and forms, have been able to fit together and this is sitting. It has become pleasant and emotional in these photos. As mentioned, in addition to capturing the image in full flow or with shallow depth of field or in a drawn shape, other methods can be used to abstract colors and remove the exact shape and form of subjects, such as using the Diffusion filter or Fog filter or Motion filter. Before we discuss in detail what each color symbol is and what meanings and concepts it can evoke, it is necessary to mention one point, and that is the uncertainty of the items that will be mentioned. Each color can be a symbol of different concepts, and it is not unlikely that the symbolic function of each color will vary from photo to photo, from style to style, and from culture to culture. However, what is mentioned is more general than similar changes:

  • If you are looking for images in the image that evoke concepts such as warmth, anger, excitement, strength, firmness, and somewhat immaturity, use red. Red is a color that has an extremely high visual energy and therefore should not be present in some very serious and gloomy photos because it may induce and evoke a kind of originality.
  • If you are looking for concepts such as light, Orient, server, pleasure, glitter in the image, and even if you associate betrayal, use yellow. Yellow can also symbolize the sun and its golden light. Yellow has a decisive presence in the image and our visual system is such that we can see this color better than any other color from a distance, so the symbolic effects of this color should be used with special care.
  • If you are looking for images in the image that evoke concepts such as spring, freshness and even jealousy, use green. The symbolic function of green is more influenced by the nature of our relationship with nature and the experiences we have had in this regard. The different effects of nature on us in spring and autumn show that a very large part of our pleasant feeling towards nature or its photographs is due to the green chlorophyll of plants and trees.
  • If you are looking for concepts such as coldness, infinity and importance in the image, use blue. Variety and lack of consistency between the above three concepts indicate the uncertainty of the definitions and interpretations mentioned above. And evoke newness, luxury and the like.
  • Of course, black, white and gray also act as a color, they will have a symbolic function. In addition, the placement of colors next to or in the heart of these three tones (or even it can be said that these three colors are neutral) can intensify or weaken and change their effect. However, the following interpretations can be given about these tones:

If you are looking for images in the image that evoke concepts such as death, boredom, regret and sometimes even hidden movement, use "black". Black alone does not have much visual energy if it does not contrast with white, and if the entire surface of the image is occupied by black or nearby tones, we will get a low-energy, low-contrast image.

If you are looking for images in the image that evoke concepts such as snow, elegance, purity, cold, peace, purity, beauty, fragility, and even "mourning" in some cultures, use white. White, like black, does not have much visual energy alone, and if the whole image is filled with white and its near tones, we will have a low-energy, low-contrast image. Of course, in the interpretations that have been mentioned, there is a kind of appreciation for these two colors, so that black is the manifestation of filth and white is the manifestation of purity and whiteness, while these interpretations, which are generally derived from ethics and even myths, are not very certain in the field of image. One culture, nation and people are different from other cultures and nations. What escapes any valuation and is a combination of black and white and their related interpretations is gray, which has a balanced visual energy and is neutral, and this neutrality is sometimes useful because it allows shapes and forms to be white or white, regardless of the effect of color. Pursue their role and influence. If you are looking for concepts such as sophistication, strength and freshness in the picture, put black and white side by side in the frame. The two colors black and white, both of which are low-energy on their own, are injected into the image when we contrast them between these two extraordinary visual energies. One thing to note is that the symbolic function of colors depends not only on their "color" but also on the degree of purity and saturation of the color. Two "green" colors that have different degrees of purity and saturation may have different meanings.


Objects around us in indoor and outdoor scenes have certain proportions and spatial relationships that may always be constant or remain constant for certain periods of time. The difference in size between objects, the difference in their shape and form, the type of their position relative to each other, the difference in distance between them and the difference in their height form proportions and spatial relationships between objects that may be pleasant or unpleasant to any observer. Now, the type of selection of objects for each real scene and how these objects are placed and arranged in the desired scene will greatly affect our feeling when we are in that place. This is why it is recommended to change the decoration of the real environment in which we spend hours every day to change the mood and create emotional diversity every few months, and each time to create new proportions and new spatial relationships between existing objects. Some ordinary people have the ability to sensually and instinctively create pleasant relationships and proportions and eye-catching objects in any scene, and therefore in slang, we refer to them as "tasteful" and in front of people.  There are those who are incapable of creating pleasant relationships and proportions between objects, and every time they set up a scene, it seems unbalanced and unpleasant, and we use the term "bad taste" for them. Of course, most of the time we do not pay close attention to these relationships and relationships between objects, but we become sensitive to it when we want to create new relationships in the heart of these relationships and existing relationships, while entering a serious challenge, for example when We want to install a photo frame in our room. We want to create a new relationship in the heart of the relationships and proportions between the objects in the room. On which wall, near which object and far from which object, above which object and below? Which object to install determines whether the newly created relationship is properly compatible with the sum of the existing proportions and relationships. When we enter such a scene with a camera to take a picture, these proportions and spatial relations find a new state and definition in the field of camera frame, which is the same concept called "composition".

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