So I’m sitting here thinking and can’t stop the thoughts. I’ll go ahead and share my thoughts with you, my kind readers, in the hopes it’ll be appreciated in some way. This’ll also bring down my stress level because this is my form of therapy.
Photography is a means of communication. It transcends time, distance, and memory. An image, or series of images, can bring you closer to someone else’s country, town, kitchen table.. smack dab into the middle of their lives. Through social networking sites, we can watch someone’s pet or loved one grow up. On Flickr I follow many proud dads and moms that bring their kids up in the social network spotlight. I see their kids as THEY see their kids. I see the good and the bad, the cute and the sad, as well as the surreal. I learn how to improve my photography by seeing amazing photography. Furthermore, by seeing others put their hearts on the line I’m less afraid to do so as well.
For the street photographer, documenting those ordinary moments puts the entire world into perspective. The interesting strangers they encounter become my characters- the scenes are their stories. There’s a fine line to street photography’s delicate simplicity. If the image is too simple there’s no story; too much disorganized chaos and there’s no story either. The images that just ‘work’ have a scene, story, and its characters. All these parts coming together form a balance that puts me, as the viewer, both as a spectator in the scene and a participant.
The macro photographer, like the street photographer, also documents ordinary moments. They need to look for an interesting character, a scene, the right light, and a story. For my macro, I try to find that sense of personality in my subjects. They may be tiny insects, but it’s not until you see them face to face that you realize how inquisitive and intelligent they are. Not to mention fast! Like a street scene, these moments come and go in an instant. If your eye can align the frame into a weighted composition, followed by your finger pressing the shutter, then there’s a proud moment indeed.
I really enjoy looking at photos. Before I started this visual/documentary hobby, I collected automotive photos. I loved the sleek lines, the motion, and how the photos gave such life to these inanimate objects (as opposed to living/breathing organisms). I still look at thousands and thousands of photos every month. I love the scenes and the stories, whether they are of the photographer’s mind or literal in nature. I look at the beautiful, the ugly, the dangerous, but am always moved most by the surreal.
So, how do I define surreal? Well, let’s start with what I don’t mean. I’m not talking about taking different images from different photos and making something new. This is definitely surreal, but basically in the ‘unreal’ realm. There’s no right or wrong, and there are many photos like this that I like. As far as not being surreal, I’m don’t get excited by things that you can tell are staged (such as forced perspective). Again, not that it’s wrong or bad, but that’s not what moves me the most.
Jean-Pierre’s (that’s me) definition of surreal: The scene, character, and time of day are all normal each by themselves. Everything in the image, on an individual basis, would be perfectly normal. It is moment in which the world aligns itself so that everything shows up within one frame at the same time in a way that’s not contrived, only captured by an astute eye, in an easy to digest way. The photo depicts where, who, and how, but makes you question them all the same. You are still asking yourself the why: why are they there? Why is the scene so integrated with the character? Why is this mood depicted, and why isn’t there any other mood?And that’s really it, a surreal image is a strong composition that creates a particular, storylike, otherworldly mood.
So all these meandering thoughts and words.. but to what end?
Your guess is as good as mine. But if you see the world any differently, or if any of this makes any sense, I think typing all this out was well worth the effort. I’ve just a learned a bit more about myself, and my photography, through this stream of consciousness article.
Thoughts, concerns, disagreements? Let the world know in the comments below.
As usual, thanks so much for taking the time out to visit my site and read my article.