“Where do I start?” “I really like parts of this image…. but I’m just not sure???” “Some parts I really connect with…. but something’s not quite happening – and I don’t know what it is???” “I’m not sure this image is really saying what I had in mind nor what I felt???”
…..and then if I had an emotional investment in the image I might have pontificated over it for ages – going round and around endeavouring to work out whether I ‘liked’ it or not, or it ‘worked’; OR – if I didn’t have an emotional investment in it I may have just moved on to the next image.
BUT… because now I have developed an approach to guide me to tease out elements of an image to ascertain what works and what doesn’t; as well as my own personal response to it…. I find I can connect with the elements of an image and my response much more effectively and deeply, and this then enables me to not only learn more about myself, but also facilitates the making of images which speak more clearly of my own voice.
This approach then enables me to examine an image as a process – rather than an ‘end result’. This approach allows me to ask “What happens when I….” alter different elements of an image through processing or revisiting a scene. This approach gives me the opportunity to evaluate whether I have achieved my own goal in expressing myself as I intended through my work. I’m always open however to other things being revealed to me through my images, and I’ve often been surprised that the image has exceeded my original intention of expression through it – because of the deeper investigation and attention I have given to it as I ask myself “What happens when I….”
So…. what is the FIRST STEP?? The first step when evaluating my own images is to the best of my ability – remove any emotional attachment to the image and not let the memory of the experience I felt while I was taking a photograph, have any influence over the response I have from the dots on the page or screen in front of me. I endeavour to imagine that the image in front of me was taken by someone else… and that all I am looking at is just dots on paper…or pixels on a screen. That is the best way that I can be objective in hearing what my eyes see…rather than blurring my view with memory and expectations.
Once I have listened to what the dots and pixels have said to me… I then ask the question “What happens when I…” (make it warmer…make this part lighter…etc) and then observe what these changes ‘say’.
The approach I use for my own images is exactly the same one I use when others ask me for my “opinion“. Over the next few posts I will be outlining this approach to examining the elements of an image …… but remember to just look at the dots or pixels – without memory or expectation. 🙂