I’ve recently been reading an article on photography and creativity, and what we do with it. It mentioned a photographer called Stewart Harvey, and his brother who created the original ‘burning man’. In the article Stewart talked about motivations in his photography.
He discusses photographic projects, and how long they can take.
“It took a long time before I (Stewart Harvey) could get out of my own way as a photographer..” This phrase hit me on so many levels, because we tend to think that photography is all about us.. he goes on to say….
“We’re trying to put together an image that we can put in front of people so they can say ‘bravo’ – but until you get past that point, until you realise that photography is about something or someone else, do you start to get into the realm of doing photography that someone else is going to care about, because in the long run, the only person that ever cared about the photography of you and me was us, and in order for other people to care, your photography has to be about something that’s relevant – and relevancy isn’t just the world of art”.
Taking this analogy a bit further, I spent some time considering the things I say when I judge photographic competitions, and what other judges say in turn.
We need to consider what makes a person ‘get’ your photograph and makes them love it. Honestly it’s not the photograph itself, that’s just a part. It’s actually the state of mind of the judge / viewer at the time.
I often say at the end of an evening that the winning picture is honestly a good one, from my point of view – the truth is that on a different evening, or a different time of day, or a different mood, a different picture might come out on top.
Only a couple of nights ago, I listened to a highly respected judge who had been looking at the pictures entered for a few days in advance. They had been marked early, but a comment was made half way through “I’ve marked these, but frankly I’m changing the marks as I work through this evening.”
Were the winning images the ‘bravo’ photographs, or did they send a message to the judge who had to offer comments and scores on the night? I ask this even though one of the comments was “the photographer was very brave to enter this one….”
One thought on “The ‘Bravo’ Image”
Food for thought, It is generally felt we do take pictures to please our selves and as members of a camera club we like to show our work to others and hope they like what they see, it’s a bonus if they do. If they don’t you maybe a little crest fallen, but should always take heart and think positively and try to do better next time, well that’s the theory. So long as you carry on and keep taking pictures and enjoying your photography, it matters little what others think.