There are many aspects involved in taking a photo that you’ll remember and that will stand the test of time; or perhaps just another background memory clouded by the passing of our daily lives.
Since I enjoy the game of golf and I often play (I’m a much better photographer), I can draw this analogy…to simply hit a golf ball straight and not necessarily far, it takes a number of things all working together at the same time: Your stance, grip, wrist, shoulders, head, knees, follow-through, tempo, backswing, and that’s not counting all the separate nuances that are associated with each one of those aspects. FYI, according to my brother, who’s a Master Professional, only five percent of all the golfers in the world can break 100.
Well the same hold true for photography, fortunately for all of us there’s not quite so many!!!
We also work on light, exposure, balance, composition, unity, rhythm, meaning, visual interest, and the ability to see past first impressions, are all some of the important aspects necessary before you click the shutter; if you expect your photos to stand the test of time.
What do I mean by standing the test of time? I mean that when you look at your photo a day, week, month, six months, a year or longer, and it still looks as good to you as the day you shot it, then it will stand the test of time and become timeless. Will it convey the same meaning, tug at the same heartstrings, the same smile no matter how much time goes by?
Moreover, if in the same stretch of time you take a second look at it and you wonder why in the hell you ever clicked the shutter, then maybe you shouldn’t have been so hasty. That’s where those aspects I mentioned come into play. A good photo is going to be a good photo no matter what new technology forces its way into the art of photography…and make no mistake, it is art.
In fact, I find that the more plug-ins, programs, software, and buttons there are, the harder it is to take a simple photo and have it last through all these photo fads. Case in point, look at all the great photographers that shot with a lens and a camera. People like: Cartier-Bresson, Ansel Adams, Steichen, Haas, Lange, Eugene Smith, Newman, Walker, Penn, and so many more.
Their images are more sought after today than ever before and will continue their popularity even as our generations change hands and younger/newer photographers take over with more advanced, more powerful, newer, smarter, more megapixel cameras . I just don’t think you can say that with the type of photos that one sees every day. They will come and go as fast as the new spring fashions that come out year to year.
For a photo to stand the test of time, it takes a commitment to the process. Take the time to get all these aspects going for you before you click the shutter, not in front of a computer. Think before you bring that camera up to your eye, and you’ll wind up shooting less and being more productive.
-BPSOP Instructor: Joe Baraban