A picture tells a thousand words.
Since I’ve been photographing in the parks and streets of Vienna, I have discovered how much beauty there is in the most ordinary of situations. When I have my camera, I notice things on my way that normally would have passed me by. It’s almost as if I am looking to find things to photograph, that something that I think would make a good photograph. But this is also part of the learning process of photography. It’s not just about knowing the setting when shooting in manual, but also learning to understand composition and what you communicate with your picture.
What’s the purpose
Initially, I used to walk around and photographed at random just about everything. I thought that for a picture to be good and interesting, it had to have a quirky angle or be something completely random. I came home with a SD card filled with images and after downloading it on my computer, I proudly called my son, Hanno, to come and see my wonderful photographs of the area where we live. Hanno didn’t say much and after looking halfway through the lot, he asked: “What is the purpose of these photographs?”
I didn’t have an answer. I really didn’t know what the purpose was for most of the photographs. Maybe “What’s the purpose” might be translated in the words “What are you trying to show or say”. It might have to do with the fact that, what ends up being in the frame is really never the bigger picture, unless of course you manage to capture a lot of the surroundings.
In the moment
When you take the photo or picture, you are there, in the moment. You know what’s happening surrounding the scene and you decide at what point to press the shutter. You will never be able to look at your photo without having all this information at the back of your mind. Maybe in the case where you do portraits of photograph people, they would know this too and this would be their memory or association with the time and emotions at the time. But the independent viewer doesn’t have this privilege. What the viewer see is only what’s in the frame.
What are you trying to say
The English idiom, “A picture is worth a thousand words” refers to the notion that a complex idea can be expressed with a single picture and this picture communicates it’s meaning or real meaning better than a description does
So maybe this was why Hanno asked me what the purpose of the pictures was. Nothing worth while was communicated to him. Does mean every photograph should communicate equally? On some level it might also depend on the interest or the mindset of the viewer. Overall there must be something and this thing can only be there when you, the photographer wants to say something with this picture. When it has meaning to you, it will communicate something to the viewer.