Tip of the Week: Understanding Visual Puns


A pun is a word that sounds similar to another word, but means a completely different thing. Similarly, in the world around us, we often see things that resemble other, but are otherwise completely disconnected. You can spot faces in kaleidoscopic forms in landscapes that are perfectly mirrored in a still lake. Even the rough bark and hollows of trees can give you strange-looking human faces or demonic forms. The texture of leather can seem like deep, crisscrossing lines or pathways.

Rivulets of sand can seem like softly flowing fabric; while water can look like a sheet of glass or undulating cloth. Architecture can also provide you with many opportunities to capture strong symmetrical shapes, such as rows upon rows of frosted glass, iron beams, girders and other aspects that might not be easily visible in natural elements. Once you understand these visual puns, all you need to do is find an angle or a viewpoint that will do justice to the never-before-seen aspects of an ordinary object.

Photograph/Ravikiran Vissa