beholder's share

Quick Reference

Gombrich's term for what viewers bring to pictures in order to make sense of them. He referred in particular to the need to draw upon ‘prior knowledge of possibilities’ in order ‘to separate the code from the message’. Where representational images depict what is familiar from social knowledge and employ familiar textual codes, viewers tend to be unaware of the contribution they are making to the process of representation. See also picture perception.

Subjects: Media Studies.

Reference entries