The Learning Curve

New tricks for an old dog.

Attention and imagination

A loud bang in the quiet of the night will capture your attention. Guessing if the bang is a gunshot, a firecracker, or an exploding electrical transformer is the next step after. That is the capture of imagination.

This thumbnail of a NY Times photo caught my attention today because the background seemed incongruous with the foreground, and the shadow figures looked transparent. It wasn’t until I looked at a larger version of the photo here that I understood what I was seeing.

The New York Times explained the photo simply as, “A family at a cafe in Kokand, Uzbekistan.” This excellent image has no particular relevance to the news story, except they both relate to Uzbekistan.

The photo is complex, multi-layered and engaging. It practically begs you to fire up your imagination. What is the serious young man looking at through the window? What type of meal will he and his family be served? It presents an exotic landscape.

In marketing there is much interest in devising way to grab people’s attention, and not so much thought given to what to do with attention once you have it.

It is the difference between crafting a Google AdWords ad that produces clicks, and creating a landing page that produces engagement.

Further reading:

“In other words, imagining something makes it easier to see it, just as seeing something makes it easier to imagine it.”

Imagination: Creating a New Reality, by Laura Sewall
EcoPsychology and Art by Amy Lenzo
Sacred Texts: A Common-Sense View of the Mind Cure, Chapter VI, by Laura M. Westall [1908]

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Written by Tom Fox

05/29/2008 at 9:12 am

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