An emotional wakening (eventually)
Emotion in photography wasn't something I set out to do when I first started taking pictures for Dreamstime a couple of years ago. Before that, I did take photos but they were done with very little thought and were just taken as a reminder of places visited.
Only after I'd begun to become immersed in photography did the emotion begin to surface. The first emotion was excitement, but this was the exitement I felt (and still feel) when taking photographs. It's a great feeling but also can be a problem because it can make you lose concentration and perhaps not get the best picture possible. This excitement still comes, when the photographs are displayed on screen and I see that I've managed to capture the shot I was looking for. Of course, disappointment also appears, when things didn't come out as I'd imagined.So, I'm trying to stay a little calmer (not easy) and hoping to show less exitement (out of focus, over/under exposed etc) and more of what the scene meant to me.
As I said, emotion wasn't something I set out to do but that was until just over a year ago, when I was looking through some photographs I'd taken at a fairground. The reason I'd been there was actually to try some long exposure shots of the rides but as I was leaving, I saw what I thought was a nice photo. It was only when I opened it on the computer that it struck a chord in my my mind. It made me curious and to think about the emotions of the people in the photo. How had they got to this moment? The driver looks tired but I still can't quite decide on what the girl is displaying and that's what brings me back to look at this photo time and time again.
Now, this may not strike the same chord with you but that is one of the great things about emotions. Different people feel different things. The photo made me want to try and portray some more emotion in my photographs but because there is so much variety in what people like, this makes the task of trying to convey an emotion very difficult for me, as I try and overthink things at times, when maybe the best way is to be more spontaneous and capture a brief moment, a little like the fairground photo.
What made this a little trickier was that I tend to lean towards landscape photography, so, there's no facial expressions or gestures to give viewers something to look at but I was determined to try and show something in future photos.
The next photo was taken on a very cold February day in Cornwall. The wind was bitingly cold and the first emotion then was "Need" I needed to be warmer but this is what I'd chosen to do and so I got on with things. I looked around and this aspect seemed the best to me at the time. I wanted the photo to try and show that it was cold, bleak and with a sense of solitude. I decided to do a long exposure to flatten the sea a little, knowing that the filter would give the photo a slight blue tint. This can be altered in editing to make it warmer but I didn't want that. It needed to stay this way to add to the cold theme I was feeling at the time. The grey overcast sky completes the effect (for me) Yet other people have said that it seems calm and peaceful. Anyway, I was pleased with the outcome and would be interested to know if it invokes any thoughts or emotions for you?
Finally, a more recent photo of a small part of Glen Etive. I'd set up quickly as the sun had begun to appear through thick cloud behind the mountain. It was a bit of a rush but the idea was to try and capture some sunlight on the Glen before it disappeared in cloud again. (Something it had done a lot of that week) I was then treated to a glorious burst of sunlight, with it's rays cutting through the clouds, lighting up the glen and the river in fron of me. It looked fabulous through the viewfinder and I only took a few shots before just standing there, watching it all happening in front of me. To say I was excited would be a complete understatement. I was overwhelmingly happy just to be there and see the moment and to have caught it on camera really was the icing on the cake. Looking at the photos later, I got to this one and thought "Yes" it's pretty much how I saw it with my eyes and how I'd hoped it would look on camera but most importantly, it again, made me feel like I did when I took it. And that, is when another ray of light went off in my head and I realised that the main emotion I would like people to feel when they see my photos is a longing or desire, summed up simply by
"I wish I was there"
Well, as they say "It's been emotional" and thank you for reading.
Photo credits: S Walker.
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