Layers, movement, and the In-between

by jameswalk

My initial reaction when I saw this photograph was that I wished I would have turned the lens slightly to the left, placed the subject a little more center-frame and in a more traditionally visually acceptable position, not gotten my foot in the way of the wide angle lens, not cropped out her hand, removed the background subjects, ahhh!…..And as I was about to abandon the photo all together, it was my wife (with her sharp eye for interesting images) who exclaimed “I like it”, and caused me to pause for a minute and reevaluate my hasty dismissal.  The more I looked at the photo the more I fell in love with the composition, all of the elements that I thought were “wrong” were actually making the image successful and interesting! My eye was drawn all around the frame, into the image and back out again.  And then I realized what many of my photos have been lacking recently, “layers of information”.  As well as the layers, this photo has tension and movement, unusual bits at the edges, and lines that draw you into the background! By no means am I saying this image is perfect, far from it, but it is much more interesting than a lot of my other recent photos. What I had initially thought was a failed attempt was actually one of my favorite and most rewarding recent photographs! It doesn’t have instant gratification, but photos that are instantly gratifying are too easy, and are often instantly dismissed.  If you can capture an image that invites the viewer to stick around for a little while then you have done something great!

*In this age of digital image making and instant gratification it’s easy to dismiss and delete pictures that don’t immediately appear to be outstanding.  I have to think back to the days of shooting film and squinting at negatives for hours before deciding what to edit, not falling into the habit of making impetuous decisions, coming back for another look. Sometimes it’s the images you capture “in-between” what you think you want that end up being the best!

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