When I started in photography – or more accurately, when I “started taking pictures” – I was all about capturing the moment. I have taken hundreds (maybe thousands) of snapshots in my life. I saw bright colors, or an interesting building, or a flower – I just had to take a snapshot. But when I look back at these shots later, they just don’t capture what I was feeling at the time.
Don’t get me wrong – snapshots are great, and I love looking back on places I’ve been, relatives, holidays, etc. We all take shots of our friends at parties, concerts we go to, quirky things we see on the street, etc. These all have their place in recording our lives.
Snapshots record an image – but it’s usually a story that’s intensely personal to you (your grandmother who passed away last year, the kids in your 8th grade class that you never see nowadays, etc.). If you’re showing someone else a snapshot, you have to explain it. I still take my fair share of snapshots, but I’m more focused (pardon the pun) on true photography these days and less on just snapshots.
Photography is different – true photography tells its own story. Maybe the story has a slightly different meaning to each person that views it, but there’s something essential there that is instantly accessible to everyone. Photographer Elliott Erwitt said, “The whole point of taking pictures is so that you don’t have to explain things with words.” Ansel Adams said “There are always two people in every picture: the photographer and the viewer.”
Your viewer may come away “reading” a different story from a photograph than you’d intended. That’s OK. Our experiences inform how we interpret life and art. What matters is that the photograph means something to you, and that it conveys a story to your viewers. Something you don’t necessarily have to explain.
There’s lots more to say about this, and I’ll cover it in future blogs. And I truly hope you enjoy my attempt to create beautiful photographs that you’ll see on this site.