These past few weeks I have been thinking about what makes some photographs stand out from all of the rest. Such thinking leads, of course, to the question, how do I make my photographs stand out from the ordinary, the mundane? At first, I thought the answer was a simple one: select extraordinary subject matter. Still, this answer didn’t satisfy me. We’ve all seen photos of extraordinary subject matter that couldn’t rise above the mundane. Then I considered that perhaps the answer lies in part, at least, in the skillful use of digital editing.
Anyone can seek out the extraordinary. Anyone can become quite skillful with digital editing … I needed an answer that gets beyond anyone.
The answer, I think, is rooted in the eye, in my ability to see the mundane – the ordinary – in a way that releases the essence of the seen. Rather than the subject of my photo being merely set as a scene, it becomes real to my eye, real in a way that feels and catches the internal rhythm of what’s taking place in that moment of time as recorded by my camera.
To arrive at such a state of being I must allow myself to both see and feel the rhythm of the unobserved. When I can learn to do that, then my photo becomes a fragment of a story that invites both the photographer and the viewer of the photo to enter into the seen, ask questions of it, and in so doing, become part of the story in a way that makes the story our own. It touches our soul. At the moment that happens, the photo rises above the ordinary.