This is a summary of my YouTube Video, you can watch the whole piece linked at the bottom of the blog post.
If I were to ask you what your best photograph is, would you be able to choose one? would you be able to articulate what is it that makes it special? do you need some time to think about it or do you know right away which one is it?
Recently Fujifilm shared a post celebrating the 10 years of the x mount, as well as a photo challenge or campaign titled: Show Your Best Photo. I will share mine later in the post and I highly recommend you participate as well. But I’d like to take a moment and talk about your best photograph. What does that mean?
I’ve talked about this photograph before, and how It breaks my heart 😂 I ruined it by missing focus, but several people commented on my video and shared their thoughts. They like it the way it is, in fact, they don’t see anything wrong with it, they prefer it this way. And thank you for your kind words, and for sharing your thoughts.
But, that goes to show that art, in general, is subjective and that we all have different opinions and preferences. However, there are some general guidelines we follow, and things we keep in mind when going out and about trying to capture our best photograph:
1. The Feeling It Evokes, The Meaning
This one can be difficult to try to explain, but in a nutshell, when you’re taking photographs you are capturing moments in time and creating memories. Some of these memories or moments, only matter to you, like taking pictures of your pets and kids, and some of these matter more to others, like someone’s wedding or someone’s special event, things like that.
There are several photographs that mean something to me, that have a back story, but that also happen to be very plain-looking images. You would have to hear the explanation first to be able to understand the reason behind it.
And I've done that, I have made videos talking about the stories behind my photographs, but I cannot expect people to have to watch those videos to care or understand the photograph.
What does this mean? what about that? What does that mean... actually never mind we all know what the third image means. But what I'm trying to say is that you’re not standing right next to the piece explaining it to viewers. However, some of my other photographs capture the essence of the moment, invoke a feeling or emotion and have meaning.
And in my humble opinion, those are the ones that we remember, those are the ones that affect us emotionally, those are the pieces of art that can potentially change our lives.
2. The Technical Aspects Of The Craft
This point is very straightforward, I’ve talked about the technical aspects before, and the aspects of street photography that matter to me. Composition, aspect ratios, exposure, focus, colour or lack thereof, etc. Mastering your setting and your custom menus.
I know that subjectivity plays a big role here, but there has to be a certain level of knowledge, control of your craft and your settings.
Nobody is looking at images like this and saying, yep, that’s a great one. And although settings alone will not get you a great photograph, mastering the technical aspects will allow you to be free and ready to capture the magic when it happens, instead of fumbling around with dials and menus and missing your chance.
My Best Photograph
There are several photographs that I really like, that mean something to me. Photographs that try to capture a moment in time or evoke a feeling if you will. But few of my photographs showcase the perfect marriage of creating a feeling, evoking emotion and knowing the technical aspects of photography like this one right here.
I’ve talked about this one before, how I stood there for about 4 hours just waiting for the perfect moment, how it reminds me of some of the best films in cinema history. 1948's Bicycle Thieves from Vittorio De Sica. And of course the Japanese master of cinema, Akira Kurosawa.
Cinema is that perfect marriage of the feeling, the meaning, and the technical aspects, and some filmmakers like Akira Kurosawa, Alfonso Cuaron and Denis Villeneuve show it really well, character vs environment.
Cinema informs my choices, my style and my preferences, and will make a video about it later, including some of my favourite films and favourite filmmakers as well. Stay tuned for that.
Join the Fujifilm Photo Challenge
I will post my best photograph on Instagram and use the Fujifilm challenge hashtag #10yearsofxmount. If you are a Fujifilm user and you enjoy photography then I highly encourage you to join the campaign and post your best photograph.
Remember this is not a competition, is not about winning or losing, those are ZERO sum games, this is about celebrating photography and our love for it so, show me what you’ve got.
In my opinion that is how you get closer to taking your best photograph, the perfect marriage of the feeling it evokes or meaning, and the mastery of technical aspects of the craft.
You can watch the full piece right here: