Sunday, October 3, 2010

What's in a Picture?

I suppose one of the most obvious things you have to decide about an image is having an image.  I mean, how do you craft something if you haven't captured it first? 

I was speaking to one of my contacts w/in the Flickr community a while back and realized during the conversation that while out hiking, he wasn't in the habit of taking images of things along the way, only of the destination.  The hassle of  taking out his camera gear or setting things up kept him from thinking about capturing images along the way.  Then, once at the destination, if the weather had become bad or some other factor occurred that turned capturing that image into a "less than ideal" situation, the whole trip felt like a bust.  The only thing was, it was obvious from his descriptions of the trip, he was observing things all along the way he appreciated..,,,the light in the trees, the shadows across the trail, the look of light across the water, and so on.  I challenged him "Why aren't you capturing all of these things along the way?  They obviously capture your just don't realize they do." 

This would be one of my first challenge to you as well.....what I would call "learn to give yourself pause".   For some, this will come more readily, and others, it might take some time.  But whether out hiking through the woods or window shopping down a crowded street, different things capture our attention for one reason or another.  I would say each time this happens.....that can be a picture.  Maybe not something everyone is going to appreciate or even needs to be captured.....but  it is a picture.  As an artist and a photographer we learn  how to frame that to cut out all the extraneous  other information and give focus to that one important thing that captured your attention in the first place.

This ability is so wonderfully demonstrated in the beautiful photo streams of others I have contact.  It is a wonderful thing in this day and age we now have the ability to gain inspiration from such a huge population of gifted and talented people.  Looking through the eyes of other creative individuals gives new "sight" to your own.  Take some time to really look through the images of people whom you admire.  What angle or level of sight do they tend to use?  Is their view very wide or very close and focused?  Is there only a portion of an object of thing in the image but it is clear in your mind as to what the remaining unseen portion is?  Then, think about these things  the next time you are out and that "moment of pause" happens.  Allow the new vision of others to be seen through your own eyes as you look.  Begin practicing capturing these things in a new way.  There may still be more cropping for that finale image to make sense....but you will be on the path of giving focus to the things that capture you.....and that is a very good thing.


  1. Well, I guess I have one thing going for me. I take so many pictures I never have time to get everything I want from the RAW! :)

    Welcome to the world of blogging, John. I just started myself about 6 weeks ago. I am excited to follow yours as I am constantly inspired by your work and will I know I will appreciate anything you care to share.


  2. Blogs can be a great way to share, John, and you have made a good start...