The Story Behind This Book
Originally, this book was written to provide students at the university seminars with a written version of what they heard there. However, as the successful first edition showed, the book is useful for anyone interested in the psychological understanding of pictures. The new edition includes many improvements, new methods (56 techniques instead of 37) and also theoretical novelties (e.g. context and communication analysis, phenomenological and semantic maps).
The book is the result of many years of work and applying them in practice also requires a great deal of time. Yet it is worth the effort, because today the psychological analysis of drawings and paintings has become a specialisation like many other disciplines.
The message of the work is a system theoretic point of view. We should deal with the entire system of our understanding that includes the subject(s), the examiner, the picture and the context. Pictorial phenomena disclose their true meanings only in this system. We can no longer attribute meanings to isolated features, only to configurations. Though older handbooks also mention this principle, they do not provide a concrete method. In contrast with them, this book describes a practical solution: the SSCA method.
At the same time, this work is a practical handbook and study guide which aims to teach the psychological understanding of pictures. The reader will find many exercises, sample analyses, and more than 1,000 pictures selected from a collection of some 35,000 in all.
Scientifically speaking, the book introduces three main novelties resulting from my expert system models: (1) a new taxonomy of items, (2) new interpretations of the old and new items and (3) the method of the seven-step configuration analysis.