Different Views: A Photography Review

My spouse and I both enjoy photography.  We both have nice cameras and the required experience / education to use them correctly.  The main difference in our photography habits is why we took a specific photo. I have two photos that my spouse took and I will be using them as references to demonstrate what I am talking about.

I usually take photos to remember a scene or as a reference.  I occasionally will take a photo because I like how light hits a shape and the shadows or textures that show up.  My spouse looks for overall composition, coloring, theme and mood.  The same stuff artists look for when they are creating a piece.  In essence photographs are more reference material for me (like a book) and a form of art for my spouse (like a gallery piece.)

I am using some photos my spouse took today.  He went on a photo shoot and took photos that he thought I would like, as reference pieces, but that he liked as art pieces as well.  I have pulled two that illustrate the different reasons we like the same piece.

WeldingTorch, DavidCarnahan

Welding torch, photo by David Carnahan, 2014

I love this photo.  I like how the metal disk glows red, but the blue flame of the torch contrasts.  Making you wonder if it is really hot, or cold.  I like the contrast in the shape of the disk and the shape of the torch, round heavy looking puck of textured hot metal, vs the sleek cool streamlined torch.  I did not even notice the flames coming off the disk, until I was done looking at the contrasts in shapes, textures and colors.

My spouse likes the photo because of the action.  The torch is pushing the flame out onto the disk. The flame then rushes across the disk, leaving the yellow streaks.  The flames are rising to the top of the frame.  There is intensity in the actions of the flame, fire and therefore the user of the torch.  He likes the negative space created between by the torch, flame and disk.  How they balance out, even though there is more action on the left of the photo. He did not notice the colors until he had finished looking at the composition of the piece.

FlamesonDisk, David Carnahan

Flames on Disk, photo by David Carnahan, 2014

I am not as big of a fan of this one as my spouse. There is more flame and it reaches higher.  He feels there is more motion with the flames reaching up and around the disk.  I think that this one may take more knowledge about welding and how the flames will interact with various objects to understand how there is more motion or action.

The only thing I really like about it is that you can see how the lip on the disk makes the flame distort, and that you can see the teeth inside the disk.  The blue flame from the torch is hidden and that reduces the color interest for me.  The shape of the disk vs the shape of the torch are not as defined either.

It is very interesting how we can see the same image, and not really see the same image.  I am seeing the colors and textures before I see the composition of the image.  He sees the composition and shapes before he sees the colors and textures.  Another person may see the color and shapes before seeing the overall composition or textures.  There really are a myriad of ways to see these images and they are all correct ways of interpreting them.

Another thing this demonstrates is that knowledge about a subject will influence how you see it.  As I pointed out for the second image, it is less interesting to me, but my spouse finds it more interesting.  He is more knowledgeable about welding and what it entails and gets more out of the second image than I do.  We run into this on a regular basis.  One of us is more knowledgeable about something in a photo and it impacts us more than the other.  Even after it is explained the image is still more meaningful to one of us.

Every time my spouse and I talk “shop” I am amazed at how differently we see the same things.  It serves as a reminder that everyone sees things differently.  Even if it is the same image that you see, they interpret the information presented in a different manner.  Some will see the composition first, others the colors and still others the shapes.  None of them are wrong, and we should be happy that they are seeing it in various ways.  It just means there are more ways to enjoy one image.

Have a good week!

If you wish to see more images from my spouse, check out his facebook. He posts most of his work there.

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