There’s an estimate that gives the number of photographs taken in 2015 as 1 trillion. 1 trillion! Instagram, SnapChat, Facebook and Twitter allow us to say a thousand words with one picture. And we do. We snap our food, that weird person in front of us in the line at the supermarket, that beautiful sunset on our way home from work, our toddler caught in the act on being cute and so on and so forth.
Six photographers each had separate sessions with the same man, and the outcome was different in each case. Each photographer was given a different bio about the subject and the result was different in each case. The subject dressed the same for every photo session, but the photographer who was told that he was a recovering alcoholic captured him differently from the one who was told that he was a billionaire. Fascinating stuff!
So what’s more important: the point of view of the photographer or the point of view of the person looking at the photograph? As the article referenced above posits, images are indeed captured in a way that betrays or illustrates the photographer’s own biases and preferences. I photograph my own food all the time. I do it when I think I’ve prepared it well, or when I’ve prepared something new and I capture it this way so I can share it (because you care!) and look back at it and enjoy it all over again. Food is in my top 3 favourite things in the world. Without apology.
I capture family moments when we’re out and about for much the same reasons stated above. It’s fun to look back and remember that perfect day at the beach, or when we huffed and puffed up that mountain trail. Children change so quickly and looking back only fuels feelings of wonderment and gratitude.
Confession: I like to photograph random people too. I’d like to do it more often, but I’m scared to do it. I wonder about their stories. I make assumptions about them. I want to know what they think. And from time to time I wish I was brave enough more often to ask strangers for their permission to photograph them. On those occasions when I simply took the bull by the horns and was straightforward with a potential subject, politely requesting permission to take their picture I was indulged. I’d like to do more of these types of photographs.
My daughter photographs differently. Her images, to me, tend to be more artistic and she has, in my opinion, a natural eye for composition and focal points. Look at how we both captured Christmas dinner:
|Kelly’s pic: I wanted to showcase my food
|Rachael’s pic: She wanted perhaps to capture a vibe
Only she can articulate why she captures what she does the way she does. But when I started trying to identify my favourite photographs of hers, I quickly identified a recurring theme in my own head. What do the following photos communicate to you? Do you like them? Why?
“Anything is possible” is what these photographs communicate to me. I worry. A lot. Not sure if it is as a result of how I make my living as a worker in logistics and supply management where we constantly have to evaluate risk and form contingency plans, or if I ended up in this field because of my natural propensity to think of the worst possible outcomes. But even while I contemplate the worst that could happen, I consider myself the eternal optimist, always looking forward, anticipating better days. Looking up in spite of decaying walls closing in…doorways leading into new rooms, movement away from and into…verdant life around the still standing, though decaying structure.
NOTE: Rachael and I aren’t trained photographers. But with technology the way it is, we can express ourselves and capture images important to us and images we think you’d like to share, in the way we want to share it, with our own biases and filters (pun intended). Ain’t life grand 🙂
A picture is still worth a thousand words.