Monthly Archives: November 2021

Rubin’s Vase Optical Illusion with Harold’s Profile

Vase or Profile Inversion © Harold Davis

Rubin’s Vase is a well-known optical illusion developed by Danish psychologist Edgar Rubin whose primary research field was figure-ground perception. When you look at the image above, do you see a vase, or a profile that is mirrored? As it happens, the profile is mine!

I was reminded of the Rubin’s Vase phenomenon when I was researching the “Positive and Negative Space” chapter in my forthcoming book Composition & Photography: Working with Photography Using Design Concepts.

To make this image, Phyllis used her iPhone to capture my profile (perhaps I am not at my handsomest in this portrait?!). Portrait with Vase (bottom) shows this profile view, reflected on the vertical axis.

Phyllis emailed my profile to Mitja in Slovenia (via his Etsy store), who used 3-D printing to make a vase that followed the contours of my profile, shown in the center of Portrait with Vase. The vase arrived at our doorstep in a neat international mail package complete with customs declaration.

I photographed the vase with it placed lying down on a light box, to intentionally create a high-contrast image with the camera-facing plane of the vase in deep shadow (see Vase or Profile, immediately below). The L-channel of this image (using LAB color) was inverted to give the Vase or Profile Inversion version shown at the top of this story. Both images were subsequently converted to black and white to make the illusion work better.

Vase or Profile © Harold Davis

Portrait with Vase © Harold Davis

Posted in Abstractions, Bemusements, Photography

Sharing My Techniques for Photography on Black—Webinar on Saturday 11/20/21—There Are No Secrets

I’ll be sharing my techniques for Photography on Black in a live Zoom webinar on Saturday November 20, 2021 at 11am PT. The webinar will include real-time demonstrations of photography and post-production in Photoshop. There are no secrets! I’ve explained my techniques in my books; you can attend this webinar to see me actually do the work, with plenty of time for Q&A.

Click here for more info, and here to register on Zoom!

Papaver hybridium ‘Naughty Nineties’ © Harold Davis

Posted in Photography, Workshops

Two of my images are 2022 USPS releases

I am pleased and honored that two of my images are part of the 2022 United States Postal Service new releases. Click here for the official press release. My stamps can now be pre-ordered from the USPS. Click here for Tulips, and here for Sunflower Bouquet.

Tulip Pano © Harold Davis

The Tulips Forever stamp features a luminous, almost ethereal assortment of overlapping tulips in red, orange, yellow, purple and white against a bright white background. Similar in design to the 2-ounce Sunflower Bouquet stamp, this stamp can be used on RSVP envelopes often enclosed with wedding invitations. In addition to regular correspondence, it is also perfect for party invitations, thank-you notes and important announcements. This stamp was designed by art director Ethel Kessler, with digital photography by Harold Davis.

Sunflower Bouquet © Harold Davis

Sunflower Bouquet
The Sunflower Bouquet 2-ounce stamp features an array of sunflowers, irises and other small flowers priced to accommodate the weight of heavy invitations, oversize greeting cards and other mailings that require extra postage. The Sunflower Bouquet stamp is similar in design to the new Tulips Forever stamp, and the two form a natural pair. The stamp was designed by art director Ethel Kessler, with digital photography by Harold Davis.

Click here for the official press release.

Posted in Photography