Saturday, March 03, 2007

Photogaphers and clients have different perceptions


Portrait of B on holiday with his family. This was one of several portraits for this family taken during a week long reportage.

Perception is a strange thing. I like this portrait and so do the family that commissioned it. They are delighted with the images taken during the reportage. However, when I wanted to upload this picture on a photo sharing site my wife and fellow photographer, Magda, said, "No one is going to comment on that, it's just a straightforward picture of a young boy." And she is right. I tried the image briefly on three different websites. No comments.

Many of my images delight clients when they see them in print but on the Internet they don't attract much attention from fellow photographers. It must be a matter of perception. I'm told time and again that I capture the essence of an individual. Of course if you don't know the person you can't recognise this aspect of what the image achieves.

Portraiture is about the person you are photographing. It's not about making bold photographic statements or digitally enhancing images to within an inch of their life. Often large photographic competitions recognise this fact and then the masses (including many professional photographers), who may not be very visually literate, complain and say, "what's so special about that." They don't see that subtlety can be very powerful and that as photographers we need to show things as they are rather than over interpreting them 'photo-graphically'.

It all comes down to a matter of perception. That's the only answer I can come up with to answer the conundrum of people who commission images and see the prints loving the work while other photographers don't seem to get it.

If you've got a view on this I would love to hear it.

See you soon...

Paul
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