What is the art theory term for an effect like a Where's Waldo picture?
December 9, 2006 5:48 PM   Subscribe

What is the art theory term for an effect like a Where's Waldo picture?

Other examples of what I'm thinking about are:
- A Hieronymous Bosch painting
- The Million Dollar homepage
posted by philosophistry to Media & Arts (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
posted by JujuB at 6:43 PM on December 9, 2006

I'm not sure I understand which effect you're talking about.
posted by rhizome at 7:12 PM on December 9, 2006

Response by poster: Here's another example

It's an image that invites you to put your face up close so you can see individual objects and all their little details. And then when you step away from the image, it has an entirely different effect.
posted by philosophistry at 7:34 PM on December 9, 2006

I'm not sure that's anything more than "detail" itself.
posted by rhizome at 7:49 PM on December 9, 2006

Montage. Arcsoft makes a piece of software called PhotoMontage that a lot of OEMs used to bundle with new computers. Maybe you can find it on eBay? It would let you define a "montage image" and then a directory with hundreds of little pictures to make the montage with.
posted by fvox13 at 7:55 PM on December 9, 2006

Along with montage, maybe a (photo) mosaic?
posted by niles at 8:48 PM on December 9, 2006

I don't think montage or mosaic covers Bosch.
posted by rhizome at 9:13 PM on December 9, 2006

I don't know if there is a term for it, but I think there should be. Maybe you should invent it.
posted by bookish at 9:53 PM on December 9, 2006

Response by poster: Yeah, I'm kind of going for something like a Long Zoom

Yeah, I think montage is closer, but there's something about seeing a bevy of objects similar in class, but different in detail. From afar they look the same, sort of. That "sort of" invites you to inspect the details. The abundance of minute variety itself is similar to seeing the legs on a centipede I think.
posted by philosophistry at 10:12 PM on December 9, 2006

For those not familiar. Here's The Garden of Earthly Delights by Hieronymus Bosch. Awesome painting. I have a poster of it in my room.

I see what you mean, philosophistry. Not sure if there's a term for it. Long zoom seems pretty close. If you plan on writing about this, why not call it the "where's waldo effect"? In writing, there's nothing wrong with coining your own terms, so long as you define them early on. Though I guess calling it the "where's waldo" effect might give the false impression that there's supposed to be a particular small detail to be found. But if you define it well, that won't be a problem.
posted by gauchodaspampas at 11:05 PM on December 9, 2006

I think, for the images you site, you're just responding to a high level of detail.
Frankly, I've found most good art naturally invites a closer examination...even apparently simple modernist work invites much closer inspection.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:53 AM on December 10, 2006

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