Images mean different things to different people. One of the primary objectives in photography is to show in your imagery, exactly what you saw and felt, when you made the photo. That does not mean that everyone one who views those pictures, will derive the same meaning from them that you do.
The images below mean special things to me. My goal in creating them, was to hopefully see my own feelings inside the finished picture, and let others find what they may.
Summit Lake One of those special places I have been fortunate enough to visit, is Mt. Evans in Colorado. It has the highest vehicular road in North America at somewhere around 14,400 feet. I began a trip to the top on a summer day many years ago, and was turned around by a ranger as the rain I experienced at the bottom was evolving into first sleet, then ice and then snow. It was July. My first trip all the way to the top was accomplished in 2007. It is a beautiful drive although as the already narrow two way road slims into what feels like a paved (and rough) foot path, it can be a little disconcerting at times. In the end it was not the exhilarating trip to the top, or the Mountain Goats I found when I reached the summit, that are my most special memories. The photographic stop at little Summit Lake at around the 11,900 foot mark is what will forever fill my mind, heart and senses. I did not know it existed, which made making its acquaintance even more special. This little lake surrounded by ever so fragile alpine tundra is a truly special place.
Initially I almost didn’t take the trip to the top of Mt. Evans. I thought the chance of finding Mountain Goats were slim, and there are many other locales in Colorado where you can find exceptional mountain views. When in doubt go. There is so often an unexpected treasure waiting for you along the way. As is true with much of life, the view from the top of the mountain is small in comparison to the journey along the way.
Leafless tree and Giraffe. I guess ultimately in photography, abstract really just means a unique way of seeing ( and photographing) things in which we feature stuff like light, shape, color, design and other “parts” of the whole, rather than specifically showing what the subject “is”. I absolutely love creating abstracts, and what you see from me is usually a straight un-manipulated abstract, not a Photoshop creation. You can create abstractions from reality, and do it in a way where the intended viewers will generally know exactly what your subject was. The pictures below are pretty obvious, yet quite abstract. A leafless tree after a stormy sunrise, and a Giraffe (zoo shot). Well part of a Giraffe anyway. The part that most interested me while I was making pictures of course. The same is true of the tree and I think what really makes this an abstract is the fact that it is not a tree being silhouetted on a hill (something I love doing), it is all craggy branches and light of various intensities. It is an abstraction.
Every photographer is capable of making interesting abstracts.
A storm in the valley A desert valley plus storms, carries with it an atmosphere which is indescribable unless of course you can capture that feeling with a camera. I think this Monument Valley image does put the viewer right alongside of the photographer (thankfully me) as he “sees” the distant storm move closer, although you may instead see the interesting rock forms, or the fabulous color. The unique light comes from the sun trying to break through from the same direction as the storm.
What do the images below mean to me?
I have shared the images of wildlife photographer Steve Race before. While I do not know what Steve was thinking, or what message he wanted to convey when he made this picture, I do know what it says to me. I tells me that Northern Gannets, or at least these Gannets, have a gentle, intimate side to their personalities. To me this image in fact says exactly that, intimacy and gentleness. While this picture in a wider view would have been great, the message would have not been the same. I know not whether this is a crop, but I suspect it is. It is the crop of an artist.
Luck never hurts and imagine capturing the courtship behavior of this species and having the male show up with a necklace of blossoms. Of course the photographer has to be there to “get lucky”.
Both images below are those of Byron Jorjorian. I enjoy Byron’s images, and I must admit he tends to look at close-up work in a similar fashion as me. The first flower/abstract below is to me, all about nature’s patterns and the photographer’s composition. I like both and I especially enjoy the way the depth of field falls off towards the edges of the picture. There is a rhythm here that makes this photo less about flowers, and much about nature herself, and the art of photography.
The Blue Flag Iris is one of my favorite flowers which means this image gains favor with me immediately. I love the marsh habitat of these flowers and he has captured that habitat beautifully. As a nature photographer I have probably spent more time in marshes than any other location. He has given dignity to both the flower and its home. That is what this photo means to me…..dignity.
Normally I want images of vintage cars to be “straight up”. That’s because I love vintage cars. We can all fall into traps.
I love the bent and surreal world this photographer (Google Photos) has placed this old Pontiac into. It has the feel of a video game but retains the special qualities that inhabit the car. I feel this image is more about the viewpoint of the photographer than anything else, and I understand that view. I suppose that might mean that we are both a little bent and surreal, but I’ll accept that. Because the car is old, but the restaurant is of today, this picture blends the past and present for me. Every once in a while we have to move outside the box.
This great image of Tuscany, Italy was made by Kevin McNeal. After reading Kevin’s thoughts behind this picture, I do believe it says much the same thing to him as it does to me. I or we, see this as an image of layers. Light, color, texture and tone. The fact that it was made in one of the world’s most photographed regions is I guess, just incidental. Of course a great image by a great landscape artist in a special place is probably going to be a winner regardless of layers.
If you love mouth wateringly beautiful landscape photography, treat yourself and go to Kevin’s website. Wonderful colors with traditional compositions of spectacular places abound. He does so without the manufactured colors that are so prominent today.
I should add that when I put together this post I did not go out and look for images that I believed I could easily describe. I grabbed images at random, and then asked myself what do they say to me. That is a good exercise to use with our own pictures. As usual, I try to find you great pictures to view in each and every post.
I am definitely not suggesting that every photographer has to mentally obsess over their images. Everyone is not going to ask questions as to the true meaning of an image. What I am saying is the best photographers take it personally. Eventually they begin to notice that their images, and the images from others, mean more than what’s on the surface.
The Long Road Home. What does this Jack Graham image say to you?
Thank you and have a great day, Wayne