The Art of Conversation

This week, I had the honor and privilege of serving as the
competition judge for the North Austin Pfotographic Society club
meeting. The work presented was stunning and ranged from beautiful full
color landscapes from Africa to black and white urban images from New
York, also including some Texas treasures, some architecture, wildlife,
and aviation imagery. Given that the topic was “Open Themed” work for
this, I’m not surprised at the range of images presented, with the only real
common “theme” being great quality work. It was exceptionally difficult
to select from the group, as everybody really did a superb job. Really,
I can’t speak highly enough to the quality of the work.

One thing I can say for certain is that, if you have never spent some
time speaking, or even listening to a photographer talk about imagery,
it’s worth your time. When I say, “speaking” here I’m not talking about
the usual, “nice shot” or even the expected, “what kind of camera do you
have?” type of critiques. No, for these discussions, we weighed openly
the artistic merits of the images presented, all with an eye towards
helping the photographers craft images with strong impact and great
emotional appeal. Not that they needed much help, as most did quite well on their own, before my babbling on about the work and what they were doing.

I have always
loved talking about photography, discussing what makes an image work or
really sing on some level and how some images seem to really tug at your
heartstrings or otherwise seem to captivate the viewer. It can be
difficult to have this level of conversation, especially for those new
to working in the medium. It’s easy, perhaps way too easy, to jump right
into the “nice shot,” end of the pool or, perhaps even worse, devolve
into a discussion surrounding the technical merits. Photographers often
glom onto the technical minutia surrounding the lens and camera
equipment, rather than the artistic merit of the work. I am ever so
grateful that I was able to lead a discussion this week away from that
and onto the artistic side of the equation for the wonderful work that
was presented.

Thanks to the North Austin Pfotographic Society for making it all happen and I hope you enjoy this beautiful work. You can see the results on their website at the following link:

If you ever have opportunity to listen, I mean really listen, to a photographer discuss the artistic merits of work, how we get the shots we get, what makes an image really “sing” or come alive, it goes without saying really but I wholeheartedly recommend it. It makes for a great evening-getting to hear about the work plus enjoying the visual treats. It’s a great way to pass your time, that’s for sure. Images can be really captivating themselves and, when you add the story, the discussion, the depth of what we are doing into the mix, why it can be downright breathtaking. At least, I always seem to really enjoy myself whenever I get the opportunity to partake in these type of discussions.

Until next time…

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