What draws us to photography? Why is a picture worth a thousand words? What inspires us?
If you ask ten different people I am sure you will get ten different answers. I am going to give you my answers and try to explain why the above image is my favorite out of all the photos I have taken excluding family portraits.
To me, photography is a way to bring memories to life. Some great memories I have are attending the Wings Over Houston Airshow with my father. The photos I have taken from this event help to solidify the memories present in my mind. The pictures of my son help me to remember the good times we have had. I think a still image can produce more raw emotion than just about any other medium. Think about some of the most iconic images we have seen. What draws you to them? For most people, I think the impact of an image is based on the emotional response. Sure, we can go on and on about F-Stop and shutter speed, and whether or not there is enough contrast, but it is the emotion that really makes the photo. Even when we see photos taken by others, chances are that we have had a similar experience, or can at least empathize with the work. This leads me to the next question. Why is a picture worth a thousand words?
I think the most successful pictures tell a story. We can use a single photo as the inspiration for any number of stories. Take an image of the Washington Monument for example. If my four year old son saw that and asked me what it was, I could tell him the story of George Washington and the fight for American independence. I could tell him about Washington D.C. and the magnificent history and beauty found there. I could make up a story about one of the masons who carved the stone in order to construct a tribute to one of our founding fathers. The list can go on and on; just from one photo. When we look at a photo each viewer brings his or her own personality, experiences, and beliefs to the table in order to interpret what the photo means to them. Sometimes a bird is just a bird, but other times the bird becomes a metaphor for being free from the constraints of the world. The photo captures that story more effectively and more efficiently than a book. Why do you think so many people, myself included, would rather watch a movie than read a book? For me it is time. I can watch a movie in 2 hours. How long will it take me to read a book? Of course, it depends on the length of the book. Yes, a book might go into great depth describing a scene, but an establishing shot gives me a pretty good idea. I think the same can be said about photos. Because we are such visual creatures, we can get a lot of information from one single image. We honestly don’t really need several pages to describe a lakefront scene. One photo would do the job. A single image is a story in itself. A single image can be more inspirational than an entire novel.
So, what inspires us? Well, it is different for many people. I take my inspiration from the world around us. Some of the most inspirational things I have seen in a long time are from the Discovery Channel. Their “The World is Just Awesome” campaign was exceptional. The original song is excellent.
That song really nails down what inspires me. The world is just awesome. There are inspiring things all around us. If you have seen my gallery, you will notice the airshow photos. When I was younger, I wanted to be a Naval aviator, but my eyesight was too poor. The soldiers who can fly these magnificent machines are incredible. There is an inherent beauty in the aircraft themselves, but in the hands of an experienced fighter pilot, it is just magical. If you have never attended an airshow before, I highly recommend it. I am inspired by the technical ability of these pilots as they harness the incredible power of these machines to fly in tight formation. These pilots are the best of the best. They have worked a long time to be the best. They inspire me to work hard to be the best I can be.
I am inspired by many things around me. It can be a spider making its web, an ordinary leaf, or an interesting building. That brings me to my current favorite photo.
I really don’t know why this shot is my favorite. It could be that I love the colors. The contrast between the deep red brick and the the dark blue sky is great. I love the bright windows. I could ramble on and say how this building is a metaphor for human ingenuity and triumph and how the red represents the blood, sweat, and tears of construction workers, and the sky represents the tumultuous times when the building was built, but that I just made that up and this is just a shot of a building with no intended meaning. This shot was taken while walking around Boston with a group of friends. We were having a great time in an excellent city. What more could you ask for? Well, it would have been perfect if I was with my family. That’s the thing isn’t it? Why do we take photos? We take them to share the experience with those around us. We take them to create lasting images of memories. This is my favorite image because while walking around I was thinking about how great it would be to live in Boston with my family. Even though they were a thousand miles away, I brought them with me, and I brought Boston back to them. Yes, I do really like the composition and the colors. I love the way the sky contrasts with the building.I love the specks of the plants throughout, but most of all, I love the way this image captures the feelings and emotions of my trip to Boston.