I am in the process of submitting a proposal for a photography grant and one of the questions in the application was what do you stive to make unique and special in your photographs. I thought that this was a great question and something that I had not articulated. Here is my response.
I generally have four things in mind when I try to craft an image and these four things also shape my overall concept of what it means for me to be a photographer whether photographing nature or portraits.
1. Beauty – I am looking for things to shoot that exemplify beauty, worth and value or to bring out the natural beauty of my subject in each image.
2. Unity – So much of modern art attempts to deconstruct things but at some point there is a needed place for reconstructing them. In each image I want to find a good balance and harmony between my subjects and the environment that they are in. It really is important that the subjects blend into a complete composition in a natural and inspiring way.
3. Transcendence – This is a really big and vague word that often isn’t articulated. By saying that I strive for transcendence in each image I mean that I want the viewer to see that there is something bigger going on than what is captured in the moment the shutter snaps shut. Edward Weston says, “to photograph a rock, have it look like a rock but be more than a rock.” He calls this significant representation. I really like this idea and it seems to be a good grounding perspective for what it means to say that I want my images to be transcendent.
4. Iconic – Lastly, I am trying to make my images memorable. They should be something that stands out and is lasting not temporary and superficial.