A Photograph

I don’t write much about why I take the photographs I do or really anything on how I get to the finished image I display. I guess I believe a picture is worth a thousand words. I have said in the past that it is the job of the artist to remove the filters we use to see the world and attempt to show a bit of the reality that lies beneath but there really is a lot more to it than that.

 As an example, I want you to look at these two photos I took a year ago on Block Island. Each one was taken at same location and near the same time. I took several shots of the water coming up onto the shore but probably no more than ten frames. There are times I shoot a lot of frames when I’m trying to get a particular photo but most of the time I find my eye sees what is interesting so lots of wasted shots aren’t necessary. That’s a discipline I’ve obtained over years of taking photos. The #1 photo was the first one I created and a lot of people think it is amazing but to me after looking at it for awhile I see a lot missing in the piece. The #2 photo is one I passed over when I did the first piece but I feel it is much stronger. There is a strong horizontal element in both but the contrast I was able to create separated the horizon line from the layers of clouds above it. The rocks trail down toward the right while the water lifts from the sand toward the right. This creates tension in the photograph that is interesting to me. I think the fight between the water, sky and sand is better defined and the glories shining from the upper clouds descending to the water adds a unifying element. Pulling the detail out of all these elements creates a since of drama which was present to me while standing there but not necessarily captured in the original photograph. Making sure the detail in the rocks remained visible was essential to creating a good photograph. I don’t want things to just disappear into the black.

Photo #1 is good but #2 is art created in a calculated way and with intent as to the emotion I’m hoping you take away from it. It tells a story. A photograph must be more than a pretty picture. Most photos I see from amateur photographers are nothing more than “pretty pictures” if that. What is missing I feel is a sense of purpose to the photo. Why did you bother taking it? Does the photograph matter? In my case #1 doesn’t fill the bill whereas #2 speaks to me.

Just saying…