Flat & Framed - version 2.0

At the beginning of last year, I started a blog called Flat & Framed. I was passionate about photography and felt the need to reflect and write about this interest. Now, it’s time to leave behind old topics and zoom in on others in Flat & Framed - version 2.0.

The start of Flat & Framed

Once upon a time, at the beginning of last year, I started a blog called Flat & Framed. I was passionate about photography and felt the need to reflect and write about this interest. At the time, I was unemployed, trying to figure out what my next move would be.

Throughout that time, the blog served as a way to communicate some thoughts about photography and reflections about lectures, workshops and exhibitions I went to. This helped me turn the ever-ongoing information chaos in my head into clearer ideas, as well as helped me connect to other photographers.

Introduction to psycho-aesthetics

During that year, there was a science-art collaboration: PiLoT1 involving the art academy were I was following photography courses SLAC Leuven and the KU Leuven. As part of this program, professor Johan Wagemans gave a lecture on psycho-aesthetics, the branch of research in psychology that focuses on understanding our aesthetic reactions (more on that in future blog posts).

I was intrigued, during my education in psychology (with option: Theory & Research), I had known professor Wagemans as the leader of the experimental psychology lab, focusing on visual perception research, but I did not realise that he was also very engaged in psycho-aesthetics research.

I wrote a blog post about the lecture and forwarded this to professor Wagemans, eventually leading up to my current job: a PhD project on photography & aesthetics.

The start of a PhD project

Since October 2017, I have started a PhD project, supervised by prof. Wagemans, to study our aesthetic reactions to (art) photographs. The current title of the project is

Photography & Aesthetics: A beautiful challenge for psychology and empirical psycho-aesthetics

The project is part of the larger GestaltReVision program with its central aim of studying “Perceptual organization in the context of a dynamic and hierarchical visual brain”. Besides trying to understand in general how our brain is organizing visual information, there are also more applied studies on perceptual organization in subfields, such as autism and art. My project is part of the latter.

Flat & Framed - version 2.0

Last year has been an intense year, mainly focused on getting used to the new position as full-time PhD researcher. As a result, the Flat & Framed blog slowly drifted to the bottom of the ever-increasing to-do list.

However, I realised that I have missed blogging. It was a perfect way to gather my thoughts on photography-related topics, to get into interesting conversations with like-minded others and to practice my writing skills.

This might be even more important as a PhD student, where the amount of interesting input can easily become overwhelming, writing is often formal and the process from idea to publication can take a very long time. Moreover, the final output (academic article) might not always reach the most interested public.

To align with my PhD focus on certain aspects of photography (namely: how does the viewer look at, and aesthetically experiences, photographs), I will also update this blog. I have deleted a number of posts on unrelated topics and hope to start fresh with new ideas, inspiration and PhD progress throughout the next years. New job, updated blog, same photography enthusiast.

First attempt at making a website logo reflecting the focus on perception & photography

PS: I am building this site through the statistical program R with package ‘blogdown’ and the static site generator Hugo with the ‘tale’ theme. This means I still have a lot of behind-the-scenes skills to learn on each of these elements and there might be some errors along the way. I do hope to continually refine it. Please let me know if something is not working properly.