Does an image have to be “about” something

Does an image have to have deep and obvious meaning to be worthwhile?  I don’t think so. I am reluctant to read too much into an image. In general, it is just a collection of pixels. Those pixels are perceived by our visual system and reconstructed as something in our brain. The viewer is responsible for interpreting the image, and that will be a function of their experiences, mood, context, etc.

There are images that do have a powerful message. They are generally a few exceptional photojournalism images or some advertising or illustration images that state their message clearly. These are not what I am talking about here. I’m talking about “fine art”, whatever that is. Fine Art is generally referred to as works that are done purely as art, not for commercial purposes.

As an image creator, I better have a “why” in mind for an image or it will be just a record shot — just an “I was here; look at that”. Now, some of these record shots can be very nice and I may really like them, but they are not generally what is considered fine art.

But just because I have the reason in mind does not necessarily mean it should be obvious to the viewer. The viewer should discover his own joy in the image. Maybe it is the combination of colors; maybe it is the shapes; maybe it is the composition of the graphical elements; maybe they just really like pictures of horses. It doesn’t matter. If the image challenges or pleases the viewer, if it causes them to ask questions or produces an emotional effect in them, it is successful.

Take this image, for instance:

It probably violates every rule of photography I ever learned (more about Rules later). But to me it has a staying power. I can stare at it for a long time just exploring the colors, movement, etc. I could say a lot about possible symbolism here, but it doesn’t matter unless you, the viewer, ask those questions yourself.

26 Replies to “Does an image have to be “about” something”

  1. I think the admin of this web site is in fact working hard in favor of his website, for the reason that here every material is quality based material.|

  2. Hello my loved one! I wish to say that this article is awesome, nice written and include approximately all vital infos. I’d like to look extra posts like this .|

  3. Howdy! I know this is somewhat off-topic but I had to ask. Does managing a well-established website such as yours take a large amount of work? I’m completely new to blogging however I do write in my diary on a daily basis. I’d like to start a blog so I can easily share my experience and views online. Please let me know if you have any kind of suggestions or tips for brand new aspiring blog owners. Appreciate it!|

    1. Katie, great to hear from you. I assume you are referring to the blog part of the web site. How much work it is is a hard question to answer. I consider writing to be one of the hardest creative activities to do. Like photography, anyone can do it but few rise to the level of doing it well. And no, I’m not claiming that I am great at it. If you are in the habit of writing you are already ahead of where I started. I am not a journal keeper.

      Going into it, I thought coming up with topics would be one of the challenges, but that has not been the case. I have much more I want to write about than I would have guessed. The challenge on a given week is which topic to choose.

      All I can say is, just do it. Start. Commit to doing it on a regular basis. Set aside the time – whatever it takes you. Be hard on yourself. Proofread very critically. Force yourself to rewrite as necessary to make yourself clear. Decide who your audience is and target them with your voice and style.

      Thank you for reading my puny efforts. Great luck to you in your blogging!

      Ed

  4. Its such as you learn my thoughts! You appear to know so much about this, like you wrote the e-book in it or something. I think that you simply can do with a few p.c. to force the message house a little bit, but other than that, this is magnificent blog. A great read. I will definitely be back.|

  5. A person necessarily help to make seriously posts I’d state. That is the very first time I frequented your website page and up to now? I surprised with the analysis you made to create this actual submit amazing. Fantastic task!|

  6. all the time i used to read smaller content which as well clear their motive, and that is also happening with this piece of writing which I am reading here.|

  7. Thanks for your marvelous posting! I definitely enjoyed reading it, you’re a great author.I will be sure to bookmark your blog and will often come back someday. I want to encourage you to ultimately continue your great work, have a nice weekend!|

  8. I don’t even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was great. I do not know who you are but certainly you’re going to a famous blogger if you aren’t already 😉 Cheers!|

  9. Hi there! This post could not be written any better! Going through this article reminds me of my previous roommate! He always kept talking about this. I most certainly will send this post to him. Pretty sure he’ll have a great read. I appreciate you for sharing!|

  10. A person necessarily assist to make seriously posts I’d state. That is the first time I frequented your website page and to this point? I surprised with the analysis you made to make this actual submit incredible. Magnificent task!|

  11. autoliker, Autoliker, Autolike International, Increase Likes, autolike, auto like, Auto Like, Autoliker, Photo Liker, Status Auto Liker, Autolike, auto liker, Photo Auto Liker, Working Auto Liker, ZFN Liker, Auto Liker, Status Liker

    1. I appreciate the attempt to “like” me a lot, but I’m not sure this accomplishes much. I would rather have a thoughtful comment or discussion.

    1. I’m not sure of the intent of your comment. Yes, people are busy, but everyone has the same amount of time. The key is what you choose to use it for. I’m unclear why the “surreal” comment applied to.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *