The Why Behind the What

Today I’m answering the basic question why do I take pictures? What is it about photography that draws me to it as an art form?

I think the thing I love most about taking pictures is the magic that a camera has the potential to produce.  Photographs have a way of telling a story. The right picture, captured at the right moment, at the right angle, with the right light has the capacity to grab a hold of my imagination and leave me wondering. It’s the untold stories in that are in a person’s eyes in dramatic portrait pictures; it’s the potential that lies down a winding road; or the stories that an old house or barn could tell if it could speak. I think for me the real appeal of photography rests in the stories that lie beyond the pictures. Words can often fail to capture the depth of feelings between a parent and their newborn but with a picture all the emotions are there captured in just a few clicks. In moments of pure devastation, a series of pictures by a photojournalist can write a novel’s worth of stories without using a single word. For me that’s the power of photography, the stories!

So when I shoot, I’m aiming to tell a story or at least make someone wonder about the story behind the picture. I want to capture a moment so perfectly that the viewer is immediately in that moment, feeling the emotions, sensing the potential or wondering about what else might have been happening.  I’m not there yet but that’s where I want to get in my picture-taking.

The picture below perfectly reflects what I mean by the untold stories. I drove by this house on my way to the beach and had to turn around so I could capture it. I took it on my phone so not a great capture but when I look at this house I wonder about the stories its walls could tell; the rich history it has been a part of. I LOVE that I am left wanting to know more. This is why I love photography and why I want to get better at it.

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19 thoughts on “The Why Behind the What

  1. I loved not only your words but your picture. I too often wondered what has happened behind the walls of a house or if the garden gate is closing something in or is an opening to the world. I am hoping that as I learn more my pictures will be able to enhance my stories or be able to tell a story by themself. I have a feeling that this is going to be an incredible journey for all of us.

    • Makeda says:

      Thanks Ginny. I suspect that you are right; it is going to be an incredible journey for all of us. Looking forward to learning more with you.

  2. You summed it up wonderfully! I’m learning to ask myself what story I’m seeking to tell with my photos. The photos that I love are often the same ones that have that haunting element to them…they linger in my thoughts after they have peeked my curiosity.

    • Thank you Cheryl! The haunting quality of certain pictures are definitely a draw for me. It has taken me awhile to figure out that my goal in picture-taking is to tell a story. The trick now is to figure out how to do that 🙂 Looking forward to learning the first steps toward how to do that during this class.

  3. You are so clear on what you want to do with your images, Makeda! That is wonderful, and a perfect guide for your journey. I identified with your love of story, I feel very similar with some of my images. Keep looking for the stories, you are on the right track! I can’t wait to see more as the class progresses.

  4. Thanks for sharing your innermost thoughts on the subject of photography. I think I will learn a lot with all the talent in this class. Seeing that rundown house reminds me of the photo I took of the rusty old Volkswagen.

    • Thanks for stopping by Marilyn! I look forward to all that I will learn from everyone here too. Do you have that pic posted somewhere that I can see it? Would love to if you have it posted somewhere.

  5. I love what you’ve said about photographs as stories..they can say so much, and pull us in ask questions, seek answers..Photos are so powerful, and you have expressed it so beautifully with your words and photo! Looking forward to see more of your work!

  6. Yes! Magic and stories and inviting people in. You say it so well here. Your photo is very interesting, letting me think about what happened there. You also reminded me that one reason I photograph is to find beauty in unexpected places and things…the broken down, old, discarded, etc. Thanks for sharing.

    • Hi Aimee, thanks for stopping by. I also love the potential of finding beauty in unexpected places. I’m in a process of learning to find beauty in imperfections, in myself and in things around me. This might be another reason why I’m drawn to the old, broken down, discarded items because even in those places beauty exists. Thanks for reminding me of that.

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