Behind each issue of Better Photography is a combination of articles designed to help both your craft and your art. The latter is more to do with ideas and in the current issue, Roby Lazar provides some suggestions.
"When we’re searching for something new, it can be easier to start with a story rather than a subject. It is easy to say that there’s a story behind a photo, but if we really think about this, then we should first ask, what is the story? And whose story is it and are there different versions of the story that may fit the events or the people seen in our image?
"The idea that there must be a story behind a photo has become quite common and at times, unsubstantiated. It is an idea that assumes there will be an understanding of the image by the viewer, who in fact may possibly not understand the context of the image as the photographer saw it at all.
"In fact, interpretations of events or subjects seen in an image depend on our diverse points of view, so it can be difficult to insist a viewer interprets our work as we do. And while our interpretations may be relevant to the viewer, they don’t have to be prescriptive. We can gain a lot of satisfaction by encouraging the viewer to understand our intent, but in the end, does it matter if his/her interpretation is different to ours?
"Sometimes viewers can gain a truer understanding of the story by first being aware of the emotion or feelings of the photographer as the creator. It can help if they know the photographer as an individual or are familiar with key aspects found in his or her work, such as the development of the photographer’s style.
"In this way, there can be a connection between the photographer and the photo’s subject that viewers can see and feel through observation of the image. However, do we think enough about this during the capture and production of our images? Do we create the composition to encourage a reaction from the viewer, perhaps as a work of art, a record of a physical setting, a statement of a social condition; or are we creating images just for the enjoyment of presenting a composition of colour and shapes?"
Read more of Roby's thoughts with a subscription to Better Photography - visit www.betterphotographyeducation.com.