Reading a Photograph
by Christina N Dickson
In my mind there is one particular difference between photographers and viewers: We photographers know that there is more to a photo than meets the eye.
Photographers like to critique photos – deliberately pointing out how the photo could have been improved by this or that. But what percentage of the time do we look at a photo and allow ourselves to get lost in it? How often do we take a moment to really evaluate what the creator intended to communicate?
Personally, I know that I ought to devote more time in the exploration of reading photographs. Acknowledging this need for growth, I’ve done my research and found a few tips from the pros. The next time you see a photograph from National Geographic, or a portrait from an art gallery, walk yourself through the following list. You’ll be excited to see with a completely new perspective.
1. Start with First Impressions: What do you notice?
If a picture is worth a thousand words, what is this picture saying to you? Allow yourself to take in all the elements collectively, and then tuck your observations away for a moment. As you look at more specific details you may be surprised that your first impressions aren’t always accurate.
2. Evaluate the content
What time is this photo taking place? Determine not just time of day but the occasion as well. Where is the setting located – in both a general and broad sense? This alone will influence the story being communicated if there are different cultures involved.
3. Relationships: Subject to subject or subject to viewer
What can you see about the people within the picture? How close are they? How do they feel about each other? Also consider if there is anything being said between the subject and you as the viewer. Are there emotions that meant to be communicated to you? What does this leave you feeling?
4. Concepts: Actions and connections within the setting
Sometimes subtle details within a photo can make a dynamic impact on the message. Hand gestures, direction of gazes, etc. What do all these details communicate about the message of the image?
5. View: Does it make you a participant or a viewer?
Powerful photos are often the ones that draw us in and make us a participant rather than those that leave us as simply a viewer. How does this influence your take and feeling about the photo?
6. Direction: Where does it take / leave you?
This question goes beyond simply eye flow. After evaluating all the subtleties and details, ask yourself how they all come together to support the overall message or idea of the image. What thoughts do you have? What conclusions are you drawn to?
It takes a little bit of practice to uncover the mysteries that often are hidden from plain view, but then that is what makes art exciting isn’t it?
Sharing is caring. (PANDAN)
Thursday, November 17, 2011
Thursday, November 10, 2011
Everyone, with a very few exceptions, has this problem. I never had the right gear. I constantly feel that I am missing the opportunity to create great photographs because I do not have the right gear. Frustrating!
1-I do not have a 600mm lens with teleconverters, so I missed many excellent bird photographs.
2-I do not have a sturdy tripod with Gimbal head, so my shots were not tack sharp.
3-I do not have a D3, so I could not take a decent shot in low light.
4-I do not have a SB900 with Better Beamer, so my backlit birds are dark. I do not have enough lights, so I could not take a beautiful picture in outdoor locations.
5-I do not have a PcketWizard, so I could not light the outdoor shots the way I wanted.
6-I do not have a good Graduated ND filter, so my landscapes are not good.
And I am not making enough money to buy all I need. The list is endless. The more I read about all the photographic gear out there and the more I see the images of the top class photographers, the more frustrated I become. With all these limitations, how am I going to realize my true potential? Sounds familiar with this testimonial?
Until, I discovered that I am not realizing my potential anyway, with the right gear or not. Am I realizing my potential with whatever I already have? It was difficult to accept, but the answer was a big no. Also, I will not be able to buy all those missing things in the near future. THE DAY WILL COME. Till then, I am have to create my best photographs with what I have. Now, the question is how I am going to make it happen.
I decided to begin with my limitations. When I looked hard, it stuck me that most of my learnings were more gear centric and less on techniques.So I decided to focus more on the technique. As a first step, I stopped reading anything about the gear which I do not have. What is the point? I don’t have them anyway. I started reading more about the techniques and started practicing them. I soon realized that lack of gear can be compensated with right technique in most of the situations. Of course, not all, but most.
I do believe that you gear will take you some of the way, and better equipment will carry you a little further along the road, but ultimately you ( and I ) have to make up the rest of the requirements that make a shot great, or good or even acceptable.
Great gear does not mean a great shot, it simple means a better tool to do the job. In Simple terms a high class hammer and a cheap hammer both hit the nail, the high class hammer will probably just last longer and make sinking the nail a little easier, but ultimately I have to know how to hit the nail and the more nails I hit the better I get.
A good photographer never blames his gear. Just as a good mechanic never blames his tools.Often is not about the photography equipment’s..its about the passion for photography.
Same old me..Sistem P.A.Y.A ( PAKAI APA YANG ADA ) Have fun with what you already have dude!!