Gesture has become an important concept to me. I was introduced to a more broad meaning of it by Jay Maisel. Jay is one of my favorite photographers to follow. I hate him for his work (it is so good) and he is an abrasive New Yorker with an outspoken opinion on everything. But I tend to agree with his opinions.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary says gesture is “a movement usually of the body or limbs that expresses or emphasizes an idea, sentiment, or attitude“. Boring, but we know what that means. We see people using gestures all the time. It is instinctive to us. Jay has taught me to look for and be more aware of those gestures. It is usually a key instant, a decisive moment as Cartier-Bresson would say. Looking for moments punctuated by gestures has improved my candid people photography immensely.
But even more important to me, Jay expanded the concept. He says that almost anything can express gestures: trees, buildings, lamp posts, anything. I look at it as an implied relationship between things. That has broadened my creative vision. When I can find it, I now look for more than just an object in isolation. I look for implied relationships between it and other things in its environment.
The image with this post is a good example. I see an implied gesture between the tree and the cloud. I know, this is just silly anthropomorphism and the tree is not aware of the cloud. In a pst life I used to be an Engineer; I’m used to cold rationalism. But don’t take it away from me. Seeing the tree as being curious or longing to touch a cloud makes it deeper and alive for me. And I will pretend like it is true. Finding and expressing gestures has become part of my creative quest. The artist part of me wants to believe it is real.