Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Photograph, The Photographer, or Both

  I have been thinking (that can be dangerous so tread softly...).  As a photographer, I love it when people compliment me on my images.  (Although it shouldn't),  first of all it gives validity to the knowledge that I am a good photographer.  Secondly, it lets me know that I am touching my viewers thru my work (and isn't that what every photographer wants?).  But when it comes to photographs of people, what should be showing up first? What should the viewer be seeing first in those images?

  Should it be the photograph (the actual subjects in the image), the photographer (how great their interpratation of the image was, how techically correct it is, how moving it is) or both those things working together that should first capture the minds and hearts of viewers?

  While a small part of me says it should be the photographer (because didn't the photographer create the image and record it?) another, bigger part of me says that it should be the image itself that initially captures the audience. 

  What is the purpose of photographing anything?  People, birds, dogs, cathedrals, waterfalls...The list could go on forever....  I think the purpose of a photograph is to capture a moment in time and record the emotional qualities that moment gave. 

  If that is true, then when someone looks at an image, in a sense, they own it.  They see in it things that I can't see.  Therefore, it is not how great the photographer is that is prevalent but how an image speaks to the viewer.  The photographer captured the moment (and emotion in the moment that they felt) but the primary purpose of the image is not to showcase the talent the photographer has.  Does that make sense? 

  I feel that I am putting all this very poorly but does anyone kinda get where I'm going?

  Now, I do believe that there are times when the photographer's talent is the main focus of an image but only in certain cases should it be the most prominent focus.  Like at an art exhibit showcasing the photographers work.  

  There are also times where both the photograph and the photographer work together and should be complimented as such.  Maybe with a hard to photograph subject (a child who will not cooperate and the photographer somehow gets them to smile), or when there is a challenge in lighting, composition, etc and the photographer figures it out and creates a beautiful finished product.

  Anyway, that's some rambling thoughts for this morning.  I hope they weren't too incoherant. 

  I'd love to get your opinion and thoughts on this idea....


6:41 PM

  I came across this amazing, heartfelt post that is a MUST READ while browsing thru the blogs I follow.  In a sense, it ties into this post.  But make sure you have kleenex handy, it made me cry!!!  It's well-worth the read.


  1. I think that both should be recognized! :)

  2. I get what you mean perfectly! Before I started taking photos, I couldn't care less who took a photo, all I knew was that I was viewing a beautiful image. Now, all that has changed. I find myself asking, "I wonder what camera she's using?", "What lens was that taken with", etc. I think you concluded it prefectly: the main focus, ultimately should be on the image itself. :)

  3. haha, we used to talk about the same thing in english literature and whether we'd destroyed the poem by analysing it rather than just appreciating it. :p xx