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Juxtaposition in Photography

by Editor Lourens Durand
Edited and published by Yvette Depaepe, the 10th of June 2022


'David & Golijat' by :o:  darteF pristov

By carefully placing two different objects or concepts together in a photograph, story, painting or film scene, one is able to create an interesting sense of contrast which, in turn, can elicit a reaction, provoke meaningful thought, lead to a story, or just raise a smile.
Such juxtapositions will have different effects on different viewers, depending on how they are presented, and on the viewers’ own experience and background.


The principle of juxtaposition has been used extensively in the film industry, for example, since Kuleshov showed (in 1910 already) that sequential shots of an indifferent expression on a man’s face followed by scenes such as a child in a coffin, a bowl of soup, or a woman lying on a divan, elicited interpretations as either sadness, hunger or lust being appropriated to the man’s expression.
Alfred Hitchcock took it even further by combining three shots – a neutral close up shot (of himself), followed by a Point of View shot (such as a mother with a baby) and then a man’s smiling face. When the point of view shot was replaced by a beach scene showing a bikini-clad model, the reaction of viewers to the man’s smiling face changes from kindness to that of a dirty old man.

This concept still applies in photography today, and clever use of juxtaposition can result in interesting interpretations:

Old and young
 – the experience and characteristic lines in the older person’s face or hands compared to the smoothness, innocence and vulnerability of the younger face can elicit all kinds of meanings and responses
Poverty and opulence – contrasting scenes of poverty and wealth, such as a beggar in the street against a backdrop of an expensive clothing store can tell a multitude of stories
Soft versus hard shapes puffy clouds in the sky over a hard, rocky landscape
Breaking a pattern – inserting something of a different shape or colour that breaks a repetitive pattern can be quite striking
Short and Tall, Big and Small – juxtaposition of people of different heights or shapes can be made to look humorous
Light and Shade Contrasts of light and shade, or even the distorted shapes of shadows can be quite interesting
Happy and Sad reflecting different moods in the same photo can tell an interesting story
Conflict and peace conflict, tension, inequality and intense emotions juxtaposed with peaceful scenes can be powerful.

Bear in mind that, whatever vision the juxtaposition hopes to achieve, the outcome is also dependant on good photographic technique, clever use of the elements of design and composition, proper lighting and interesting angles.

Please enjoy the selection of photographs illustrating the concept of Juxtaposition by photographers that follows.

Lourens Durand 


'Juxtapositon' by C. Mei



'the fridge' by Andy Dauer


'Carmen by Eleonora Abbagnato' by Flavio Bertazzi



'Beach Mood' by Vasco Trancoso


'Under Observation' by Chris Hamilton



'Street stories' by Kuntal Biswas



'light & illusion' by :o: darteF pristov



'come on boys...' by Peter Svoboda MQEP



'Ebony and Ivory' by Pedro Jarque Krebs



'Sunny day' by Luc Vangindertael (laGrange)



'Pois' by Massimo Della Latta



'After Quarantine' by Ivan Huang



'Looking for Something' by Faisal ALnomas



'Edinburgh Tip Off' by Tom Duffin



'Yellow and blue' by Anna



'Respect...!' by Huib Limberg



'A Sour Taste' by Lydia Jacobs



'grandmother' by Piet Flour



'protected' by Usef Bagheri



'Aroma de cereja a escalar a pele' by Jorge Pimenta



'Palmers' by Robert Semnic



'Lifestyle' by Yannis Economou



'Little is missing' by Carlo Ferrara



'Lost Soul Forever' by Nick Amanda



'Infinity' by Domenico Petrocca



'Shyness' by Alin Petrus



'Fading away' by Kaushik Dolui


Great series congrats to all.
Very interesting article and nice photos, thank you!
Great article and wonderful images.
Great shots interesting article 👏👏
The article itself does not present anything essentially new (juxtaposition in art is a commonly known concept), but the images are absolutely fantastic!
Enjoyed reading this article
It is quite an art to see beyond the obvious....wonderful images to learn from
Excellent curation and presentation of some great photo works.
Wow una scelta di fotografie e articolo molto interessante e favoloso. Grazie per queste perle, complimenti ai fotografi e a Yvette e Laurence 👏👏
Absolutely amazing article and very beautiful images.
Beautiful and interesting images and article ! .