Sean Hall’s This Means This, This Means That: A User’s Guide to Semiotics, made me think of a lot of “tricks” of perspective I’ve seen over the years. When I read the section “Foreground and Background” of Hall’s chapter “Visual Structures,” I immediately thought of the young woman/old lady image below:
What you see relies on the way you focus your eyes and how perceive the picture. You can see either a dark-haired, elegant young woman with a dark choker necklace or an old woman with a large nose, pointed chin, and wearing a scarf around her head. I see the young woman first. What do you see?
Another example is this image:
Do you see a vase, or two faces staring at each other?
This one is one of my favorites:
I like this one because, try as I might, I can only see a young woman for a moment. My eyes always refocus back to the Shakespeare-like man I can’t help but see.
I also wonder what it says about me that I always see the devil first when I see this one: