I have a confession to make. I take many, many photographs. That’s not the confession. It’s this: They don’t always tell the story. Now, every photograph tells a story. The story may not always be obvious.
To me, each photograph is a memory of a place and time. Weather conditions. The play of light. How I was feeling. Sometimes, I was trying a new technique, or playing. Regardless, each photograph is special. To me. Because I know why I took each photograph, each tells a unique story. But only to me.
I am guilty of not always sharing the story with viewers. Mainly because, often, I think that the story only has any interest to me. Do you really care how I was feeling when I took that image? Probably not. A photograph may be beautiful. But unless it has some emotional resonance with a viewer, that viewer will not be engaged. Which means no matter how good that photograph is, it will get lost in the scroll.
To fix this I need to be mindful to ensure each photograph has a definite point of focus. A subject. Fans will know that I am a big fan of complex scenes with sharp details. Many of my photographs do not have a specific focal point. They are a holistic whole. Meaning, the entire photograph is my focal point. That’s not always something which comes across clearly and some of the comments I receive suggest my choices here confuse viewers. “What is the point of this photo?” is the underlying message. Fair.
In contrast, in this image, I was driving around Somewhere In Niagara when I came upon this scene. The focus here is (to me) clear. The garden swing. That swing tells the story. This is a home. A home with children. The mind wonders how many. What ages? I wonder if they have a family pet. Cat or dog, perhaps?
A good subject leaps out of the image and the viewers eye is immediately drawn to it. A great subject begs questions, which engage the viewer while their mind tries to answer them. See above. So my point in this post is to acknowledge that I need to be mindful, and make changes. I will continue taking photographs the way I like to take them. But I will also try to share the story.
Given my style, the subject of an image might not immediately be obvious. So sharing the story will help in a few ways. First, it will tell viewers what they are looking at. It tells them a little about why I took the photograph and where they should look. And also, importantly, why they should care. It takes a photograph from a technically OK photo to one where the viewer has an ‘Aha!’ moment. They will be engaged.
They will understand the story, if I tell them the story. That’s the story. And by the way, it was a dog.
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Prints available for all images by request.
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