When I look at a still image, moving film or watch a theatrical production I appear to scan the whole scene and in parallel forensically see(k) the details. I notice continuity issues and items that should not be there or if they are there how they could be better placed in the image. I recall designing room interiors at school and for a time as a young adult stage managing, (conceiving and building sets, setting lighting and sound, making costumes, placing props etc.) so I guess I have always done this. Translated into my photography composition is important either when the image is taken or if there is not time when capturing a moment, then later when processing.
Going with Gestalt in looking at the whole as well as its parts I am always keen to see if the whole is other/greater (depending on your translation of the German). I think finding one or two images after taking a series that stand out for me represents the other/greater impact the whole has on these occasions.
From a different point of view my gaze has its downsides. I may be engrossed in looking at the physical detail, signs, i.e. the ‘signifiers’ that make up the whole, and as a consequence be slow to realise or miss the ‘signified’, the meaning of the whole.
Gestalt Theory of Visual Perception. Available at: http://www.users.totalise.co.uk/~kbroom/Lectures/gestalt.htm (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.. [accessed 28-02-2018].
Hugh. December 21 2009. The Rhetoric of the Image-Roland Barthes (1964). Available at: https://tracesofthereal.com/2009/12/21/the-rhetoric-of-the-image-roland-barthes-1977/ (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.. [accessed 28-02-2018].