Observer perspective

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The term observer perspective (also observation perspective ) describes the point of view that observer occupies. The term emphasizes the subjectivity of all information . In contrast to the term standpoint, it takes into account that observers are mobile.

Every picture, every oral or written report is portrayed from the perspective of one or more observers, even if these observers are "incorruptible" measuring instruments or cameras. These observers dictate what can be perceived in which order, and that is what defines their perspective. The need to standardize ways of looking at perspectives instead of symbolic meanings has only existed since the Renaissance .


A specific restriction of perception is associated with observer perspectives, determined by the selection of the medium : the text lacks the sound of the voice, the image lacks the third dimension, the radio lacks the image, the black and white image lacks color, the silent film lacks the sound, etc. Perception of what is missing (or through the awareness of how something is perceived), the second-order observer can distinguish his own position from the adopted observer's perspective. According to the sociologist Niklas Luhmann, adopting and delimiting given observer perspectives has been one of the foundations of social perception since modern times .

In a broader sense, an observer perspective can also be an institution : a political party or a newspaper can have a fixed perspective on what is happening. One has to take this into account when taking note of their information. The people who provide this information and their audience who enables it to be disseminated form a community . The conventions of this community (for example a fundamental critique of other institutions) then belong to the information conveyed as a subjective or non-diegetic element.


There is no such thing as objectivity or neutrality in the strict sense of the word, so there is no information without an observer's perspective. The theory of relativity shows, for example, that the measurement of space and time varies depending on the observer's perspective.

“Objective” observer perspectives are always constructed in contrast to subjective ones, for example with the stylistic device of the subjective camera in the film : In the next camera shot, the face of a drunk is followed by his blurred view of things. The first setting as an observer's perspective turns out to be “objective” compared to the subjective second.


  • Ludwig Fischer: perspective and framing. On the history of a construction of 'nature' , in: Harro Segeberg (ed.), The mobilization of seeing. On the prehistory and early history of film in literature and art. Media history of film, Vol. 1, Munich: Fink 1996, pp. 69–96. ISBN 3770531175