I found my love of photography in a visual communication class that helped me make sense of why and how certain images stood out in my mind. A single image can be like an article or short story; it’s just read in a slightly different way. In understanding that communication, I believe that you can take what you learn to improve your own photography immensely.
One of the assignments in that class was to pick a photo that communicated something to you and write a 10-page paper on it. Ten pages? On one image? Yes. And it ended up being quite a bit easier than I thought it would because the photo I chose had a lot of depth and meaning to me personally.
The image I chose was a black-and-white staircase in an English church. I chose it because it made me stop, make it bigger, and look closer. I chose it because I kept coming back to the photo. I couldn’t get enough of it. I spent time in England a few years ago, so the photo draws me back there and I feel at home in the photo.
I loved (and believed that others would appreciate) that the photo was a study in light, shape, contrast, lines, and the elementary components of a photo. There is something beautifully simplistic about this staircase. It communicates precision, depth, and elegance. And it’s just a staircase!
So here’s my challenge to you: Find a photo that is meaningful to you and spend 10 minutes analyzing it based on the following questions:
*Why did you choose this photo?
*What do you like about it personally?
*Why would others like it?
You may think that you can answer these questions in about two seconds, but really think about them. Once you’ve spent some time with your photo, do you feel like you better understand how and what it communicates to you? What can you do to make the photos you take a little more meaningful by incorporating what you just learned?
Try it out, and feel free to leave a comment on your experience.