Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Telling A Story

At the Lotus Garden (II)

Image by Ananda Sim 88 via Flickr

It’s been on my mind to write about the aspects that I appreciate in photos – both my own and other peoples’. At first pass, one would think that the Technical Image Quality Aspects of a photo dominate appreciation of photos, but no, not really. There are quite a few photos that I have seen, and maybe you have to, that are iconic, stand out keepers despite of the fact that they may rate poorly in the Image Quality aspects of exposure, sharpness, colour and so on.

So what is it that we subconsciously search for in a photo when we look at it? It’s that the photo needs to tell us a story. A story about the scene, about the subject, about the object, about the air and feeling, the mood, the time of day, that location on earth. The essence.

To convey some essence of the subject or scene then, the photographer needs to convey some adjective or adverb about the object or about the environs, about that time of life.

On the other hand, what makes a photo just discardable floatsam and debris, regardless of the technical superiority? It’s when we don’t connect to it. The photo could be beautifully posed, shot and post processed but if it says nothing to me, it’s a “next please”. Have you heard of the phrase “ill fitting clothes?” That doesn’t mean the clothes are cheap or dowdy – that just means that the clothes don’t fit the person – and when there have been times in the past (and will be times in the future) when we effect a look, just for sheer trying, that doesn’t match the topic that we are trying to convey. So there. In a nutshell.

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