Twelve significant photographs in any one year is a good crop.
– Ansel Adams
5.0 miles + 3.0 miles*
The best pictures are the ones that evoke an emotion. The kind of pictures that make you Feel something. The kind you could stare at for a long time. They say that people are the most interesting subject to photograph. I think that’s probably true. I would say it’s harder to evoke an emotional response from nature photography, which is what I mostly put on this blog. I’ve played around with the idea of doing a Runners of Manhattan series, kind of along the same lines as the Humans of New York, but whenever I run in Manhattan I’m on a time crunch and I can’t stand around chatting with people when I have to get back to gymnastics to pick up my daughter. Maybe I could try it in the fall when school starts, but that sort of project really takes me out of my comfort zone and I’m not sure it’s a direction I want to go.
So if you aren’t going to take pictures of people, then how do you as a photographer take pictures that stay with people? Does it have to be out of this world, stunningly beautiful? Or can you evoke an emotion with something simple? I think you can do both and I think both are equally difficult. You can easily fall into the trap of “trying too hard.” I think that’s true of a lot of portrait photography. Instead of capturing people naturally, a lot of times there are awkward poses and strained smiles.
If you follow me on instagram or are a facebook friend, then the last week you would have seen the Pictures by Color series that I did. There weren’t any people in those pictures, but I think the color and organization is what draws the eye in – there’s interest in the diversity of pattern, texture, and subject. There are a lot of “useless” pictures in these groups, but they work because the simplicity of a single color.
For nature pictures, I’m a huge fan of compositions that draw your eye into the picture or that are zoomed in so you only see a portion of the subject. They give you the feeling of wanting to know more about the picture. The ones from today did not really hit the mark, but they are just one more in an amateur attempt to get better and who knows maybe the “bad” pictures aren’t as useless as they seem at first? I don’t think every picture has to be an award-winning, tear your heart out emotional picture, but I guess I’m just always wanting some kind of response. I love the Ansel Adams quote, “Twelve significant photographs in any one year is a good crop.” Because you read that and think, my goodness only 12?? Yes. 12.
Yesterday, I scrolled through the pictures on my camera. Starting at the first picture from December 2013, I held down the right arrow button and watched the pictures whiz by. In some ways it’s disturbing to see 18 months fly by in a matter of 5 minutes. I have deleted a lot of pictures along the way but there are still tons on that memory card. There were ones I had forgotten about, ones I’m not sure ever end up on my computer, and streams of ones I took on continuous mode that played out like a flip-book movie. I could have slowed down, but I was captivated by the flow of pictures and change of seasons. It was like watching time-lapse photography of our life. And even though I know there were a lot of bad pictures in the mix, they got blended in with the good ones so that it was actually a complete picture.
Today I selected about 500 pictures from December 2014 to about March 2015 and put them in a time-lapse like video. These are all family pictures, not Picture Runner pictures. In the video you’ll see a lot of bad and useless pictures, but in this compilation they work so I guess that means they aren’t bad or useless. 😉 I hope you enjoy watching it. It is set to the Tammlin by the group Scythian. This is only a 3-4 month stretch so by Ansel Adams’ standards, are there 4 good pictures in the mix? Maybe.