AAA – African Art & Affect

Affect is a psychological term that refers to the feelings and emotions that are seen when we observe another person. People reflect what they are feeling inside and we can see those feelings through careful observation of their nonverbal behavior.

I am thinking outside the psychological box today and reflecting on how the images we capture with our cameras elicit different emotions in our viewers when we take them from different perspectives. We can capture the “affect” of people in portraits but we can also “create” affect in inanimate objects by altering our perspective in relationship to the object.

Last February the Naples Botanical Gardens had an exhibit of African art. This piece is titled Seduction and was created by Joe Mutasa.

Seduction, by Joe Mutasa, Zimbabwe; Medium: Springstone

How we perceive her seductive nature is very different in this first photo than what we see in the second photo taken from the front. The drastic difference wasn’t evident to me until I was editing the photos.

botanical gardens 298

I have found that moving slightly to the right or left when photographing a path or road can make a dramatic difference in the feeling elicited when viewing the image. I usually take several macro photos of the same flower and find that moving just a fraction of an inch up or down creates an entirely different emotional tone in the final image.

I am still at the beginning of the very long photography learning curve and this African Art increased my awareness of how much the emotion elicited by my photography is determined by how I frame my subject matter. Taking pictures is great fun but I have as much fun editing and choosing which images to use to convey what I want viewers to experience.

We would love to see what your brain sees when you think of the letter A. You can join Frizz’s Challenge at:


10 thoughts on “AAA – African Art & Affect

  1. brilliant pat….. you clearly showed it is not what is the object of photo or the size of camera, that makes it outstanding…. but rather the way the person behind the camera see it….


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