Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Photographs Should Be Mysterious or Reveal Things

Copy Machine - Mojave, California
"A creative photographer is one who either captures mystery or reveals things, everything else is useless" --Raghu Rai
Raghu was right: the only successful photographs for the artist photographer are ones which captures mystery or reveals things (or both). Mystery and revelation are the two types of photographs which one should pursue.

Capturing mystery is difficult to do, mostly because it can be tough to define. Mystery is abstract (mysterious photographs may or may not be abstract, it is the concept that is abstract). Mysterious photographs may be of subjects that the viewer is very familiar with, but there is something peculiar or enigmatic about the scene or in how the scene was captured that is out of the ordinary.
On A Brighter Day - Tehachapi, California
Revealing photographs are ones that show a subject in a way that the viewer has not seen before. The subject may or may not be familiar to the viewer, but typically the viewer has some preconceived ideas of the subject. What makes a revealing photograph, well, revealing is that the viewer sees the scene in a brand new way. The photographer puts his or her unique perspective on the subject and the viewer is left with a different knowledge or feeling about it.

The take away here is to look for opportunities to create mysterious or revealing images. You should be thinking about this as you approach the subject. How can I make a revealing photograph here? Or, what is mysterious about this scene? Combined with vision, creativity and the decisive moment, this is how one creates successful images.

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