We see things, and we identify with things we see if they are presented in a story context. Then we feel about everything in the picture as if we were really there and experiencing it first hand. This is how visual stories work – even in one single picture.
In Caspar David Friedrich’s “Wanderer above the Sea of Fog” we see the back of the man because we are looking into the landscape with him at the same angle he does – we see what he sees, and we are pulled into the hypnotic magic of a mountain landscape.
His thoughtful attitude gives us the example on how to see the picture. We identify with the wanderer and become him and become part of the picture. Our experience is the wanderer’s experience.
This experience lets us be someone else, and travel any place in the known world and even into worlds that do not exist. It a fascinating out of body experience, from which we return inspired and refreshes, like from a real voyage.
The art of seeing is an act of identification with what you see: an out of body experience.
The French painter Caillebotte takes us into nineteenth century Paris. A man looks out of his window in Paris. There is a woman standing on the street corner. His mind is already in the street, his body is just resisting a bit, like the skier on top of a mountain, enjoying the height and the rush down the mountain ahead. Then he’ll go out and into the bustling city of Paris, maybe with the lady he is seeing.
For my project “Spirit of Nature” I am turning around and look at the watcher and look at him as he is looking. I hope to see something he is seeing by looking at him.
In “Woman before the Setting Sun” we can actually see the process of becoming what you see. The woman looks at the magnificent sky, the glow that has turned earth into a paradise that will only last minutes.
Seeing transcends the visual process: the seeing person becomes what he is seeing.
The Mountains are now just a few shadows rolling horizontally through the picture, and so is the woman, we can’t see any details, she also has become a silhouette, joining the mountains in the glowing light, becoming one with them.
This transforming process of viewing is a powerful moment fashion companies can use to take their audiences and place them into their own esthetic world with their own rules. And make it so fascinating that they are coming back again and again.
Millennials do not look at advertising. They even turn against those companies who force them on them. But they are, like all humans, open to great, visual stories to attract them by their natural interests.
At a time where particularly Millennials are not reacting to commercial messages, such an involvement through visual stories is key for quality fashion companies to woo a upscale audiences to their fashion lines.