Making my Intentions Clear
I often wonder why it only seems worthwhile making such a small subset of possible photographs. That is, when you go to a location there is literally an infinite number of possible photographs you could take. You can stand anywhere, point the camera in any direction and choose to trip the shutter at any point in time. Yet, most of these we never even consider.
If I'm standing on the shore of a lake in the mountains I could choose to point my camera in any direction. But I'm most likely to choose a view that includes a selection of the mountains probably as one or more complete triangular forms, with some or all of the reflection. I could instead have chosen to include say half the mountain and some of the shore - but I'm far less likely to do so.
Likewise, I'd typically walk along the shore line looking for 'interesting things' to include in the foreground. And by interesting I typically mean making a set of lines or forms that complement the lines and forms in the rest of the scene.
Of course, this just means I'm looking for an aesthetically pleasing composition. Those aesthetics are a shared cultural construct I hope the viewers will appreciate but it is also a sort of visual puzzle that I enjoy solving.
It is the presence of that composition that makes it clear this is an 'intentional' photograph. I took great care and effort to find the right place to stand to render the world onto a two dimensional plane so it looks 'just so'.
There is an element of the improbable - of all the possible views, I chose this one to photograph.
But in an image saturated world, photographs which once seemed unique become diminished through repetition. The little frisson of surprise we feel on seeing a 'great' photograph is diminished - because it starts to feel more probable than we once thought possible.
Perhaps some of the surprise can be recovered by making different choices on where to stand, what to include and what to exclude - but one can only go so far before it just feels like a random selection which feels no more improbable than any other selection!
It is something of a dilemma brought on by the onslaught of photographic images. I want to leverage the cultural conventions but these conventions become tired due to repetition and the significance of my intention is diminished. If I stray too far from the conventions, the significance of my intention is diminished by the apparent randomness of the selection - why this 'convention defying' choice rather than that other one?
Perhaps its just another interesting puzzle to solve.
Pyramid Mountain, Jasper National Park