The Onion Model of a Layered Image


Onions make me cry, that is why they are inspiring. While preparing for breakfast, the thought of a scene crossed my mind and I felt it needs to be drawn, before the scent slips out of my mind.
“Layering” by convention is an image with a dominant foreground and informational background. That definition alone is somewhat confusing to most of us. This Onion Model, lets us peel what is inside of a layered image, what is inside of it, how it could be made and how it is seen.

The secret to a more consumable onion of layers is the core. It must have a SUBJECT MATTER, the very essence of your shot. It should describe in one single sentence what you had just taken and made. If you cannot do it in a single comprehensive sentence, then your onion is stale. People may and will not digest what you are trying to cook. You might get fried by critics who are always in a perfect shooting condition.

A layered image, which has complexes and geometries is somewhat confusing and may pronounce unwanted elements. It should have a POINT-of- ENTRY , a primary subject that would introduce the viewer to the idea of the image. I should be concise, bright and clear. Spicy and immediately stings.


The SECOND SUBJECT is the supporting role. Strengthens what the first subject is trying to say. It should have a connection. Clearly scene within the frame it acts like a fulcrum that connects the primary subject to the rest of the context.

Then there is the INFORMATIONAL BACKGROUND. It could be another subject or the scene itself. It renders credence to the Form and sheds light to the Context. Looking at this tells us “how the image is created”.

Which brings us to the Frame. To the edges and beyond. From there on, it remains to be seen.


2 thoughts on “The Onion Model of a Layered Image

  1. Pingback: The Onion Model of a Layered Image by Mataro Photographs (BLW Contributor) « Be Like Water

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