Photographic Mysteries


Rose Hip With Columns, originally uploaded by Madame Meow.

I like photography.

It's one of those things that when done masterfully it goes beyond art, while being appreciated by most people. I am referring to a beautiful Ansel Adams photograph, for instance, where everyone can agree that no matter where you look there is something interesting and haunting and transcendent, and even the most photography-uninterested among us can simply wonder, "How on earth does one take THAT photograph?"

Digital photography has allowed many people like me, interested in the medium but a little gun-shy and who'd never taken a "real" photography class to get into the fray. There is something downright gleeful about being able to shoot as many pictures as your heart desires without having to worry about running out of film or going through the developing process at some later point in time, and knowing that you can preview your pictures in the privacy of your own hands or personal computer, without having to find out after a lengthy process that, holy crap, that was one BAD picture.

Of course, bad pictures happen– far more often than good pictures, and to all kinds of people. Take this Annie Leibovitz picture, dubbed "The Worst Photograph Ever Made" by The Online Photographer. I don't know if I'd go so far as to call it the worst, but it certainly makes one wonder why someone who is capable of shooting so much beauty and awe-inspiring imagery really thought that picture was the best out of the possibly thousands she took that day.

(Although really, the whole kit and kaboodle does seem like a mess and the model looks creepy.)

And somewhere in the middle, there are all the reasons why pictures are good, bad, or superior: the composition, the depth of field, the white balance, the rule of thirds, etc.

There are lovely mathematical equations from the optics section of your physics textbook aimed at explaining why a picture is amazing or merely unremarkable.

But then there is just the joy of taking a picture. The simple act of wondering if you press here and stand this way and ooh look! Something pretty? Perhaps?

And then you press the button, and suddenly you're before a parade of numbers and fractions that all somehow make sense in an abstract manner. But you're just happy you took something that makes you look twice or just look and wonder.

And that is why I like photography: because despite all the fancy optics, it's still all a lovely mystery waiting to unravel itself.  Even when it's ugly.

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This entry was published on January 8, 2009 at 10:07 pm and is filed under Photoblogging. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

3 thoughts on “Photographic Mysteries

  1. well, your pictures are lovely from what i’ve seen on your flickr page. like that picture of grace with the shadow? so pretty.
    also, that bad annie leibovitz photo is scary!

  2. Photography is just great. Reading posts like this remind me that in ’09, must must get back into taking more photos.

  3. absolutely! is all i have to say. i believe that when you do something with passion, it transcends. sure there are rules and equations and technical aspects to photography but if there’s no joy in the process, what’s the point? lovely shot by the way.

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