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Photographer's Eye: Storytelling

photogeye (Leica X1)

Flipping through the photos I took during last weekend, I am especially attracted by images which were taken out of instinct in that the mind was not consciously calculating for what, why and when at the very moment the shutter was pressed. It was like I saw it and instantly snapped it. Among the piles of images, those pictures ooze out a taste more natural, with a touch more intriguing and timing seemingly more perfect.

But I wonder how a photographer's eye works. Does it see a scene in a way that the final image has been subconsciously figured out in the mind in a nano-split of a second? Or does it automatically match ideas deeply seated in the photographer's mind with a scene which coincides with those ideas, so the shot are therefore made? Or are there limitless processes in which it contributes to the final images when the shutter release is pressed?

While this mechanism remains to be explored, and if clues can be derived from my results, I think, for one thing, a photographer's eye can see a scene in a storytelling way. In other words, it judges whether a scene will tell a story or how to use the elements in it to tell a story in the final image. We all know that a storytelling image appeals to the eyes in a greater measure. And we also know that the same image can alternatively be achieved by carefully observing a scene and snapping the shot in the nick of time. But with a skilled photographer's eye, the photographer is able to do it without much, if any, active thinking in advance. That makes a big difference.

At no time during my years spent in photography did I have as many such images qualified to be called made with an photographer's eye as I do in my relatively shorter span shooting in the digital photography era. With digital photography drastically reducing the learning curve, the fermenting period prior to the next higher stage has become much shorter. The present-day photographers can mature with a better photographer's eye sooner and then go from strength to strength on the road to better photography, transcending beyond just following the rules relating to exposure, composition and the quality of light.


ismall said…
I think that this is one of my fave shots of the ones that I saw. There are so many different elements. I agree with the faster learning curve with digital. Digital has made me better with film.
Nevin said…
Looks like that there are three boxers : ). It's just much cheaper and with more room to experiment with digital cameras. But I think your first OZ shot shows that film shots are tasteful in a unique way!

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