Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Looking through an open window

Exposed ceiling
Toronto, ON
December 2009
[Click here for more night-themed goodness]

I think photographers need to have a little bit of voyeurism in them in order to be successful shooters. It helps to be curious enough about what's going on around them to want to shoot pretty much anything, even if what they're shooting doesn't qualify as worthy by the standards of most average folks.

But that's the thing about photographers: They're anything but average. When those middle-of-the-bell-curve types are averting their gaze, photographers are lifting their cameras, tweaking settings and figuring out how they're going to take the shot.

As so often occurs, the moment in question can be a simply forgettable place at a forgettable time; the kind of scene that we see so often that our minds almost automatically tune them out. They're routine, so they don't need to be recorded.

But a funny thing happens in my brain when I'm walking alone down the street of a city that isn't mine. I notice the routine and I look toward the everyday. Even something as ridiculously plain as light spilling out the window of an apparently converted loft on a slowly gentrifying block somehow convinces me to grip the lens a little bit tighter before I lift it and compose the moment.

Almost a year after I took this shot, I still can't explain why I took it. But not every picture needs an explanation. Sometimes it's enough that you liked the look of the scene.

Your turn: Does every picture need a reason? Why/why not?


lakeviewer said...


Twain12 said...

i think it's a great picture and i understand why you took it. One of my favorite thing to do is looking in widows when we drive through town at night. The best place is downtown Fredericton where all the Victorian houses are, they have such character.

Sarah Walton said...

It's one of the fantastic things about coming to photography later in life. I have learnt so much in the last couple of weeks that I am now viewing the entire world through my lens. What may have crept up on you slowly has become a full-blown obsession to me - Slam! Bam! my eyes are finally open. I find everything photogenic now. I must say, it is probably becoming a little embarrassing to those around me, so I am tending to enjoy solitude while with my camera, like you seem to... Because then I can let loose and snap anything and everything I want.

And in answer to your question, yes, every picture must have a reason to exist - but sometimes you don't find it until you see it in 2D.

Kalei's Best Friend said...

Nope, not EVERY pic. needs a reason.. It could happen just because...Painters, sculptures that were created at a whim... For me its the mood I may be in..

Nancy said...

It's there, looks pleasing to your eye and you want to look at it again sometime in the future... that's good enough reason for me.

Nice composition. :)

fredamans said...

Not every pic.
Man that is the nicest post and beam ceiling I've seen in a while. My kind of building.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Thanks for coming by my place, Carmi. You're on the blog roll!

As for the question: Some pictures might need a reason, but orb pics never do!

Tabor said...

Oddly enough I took a picture into my kitchen while I was coming up the deck steps. It just looked so warm and cozy with the lights on and I had not seen that view of where I live before!

Anonymous said...

That scene begged to be photographed. Excellent composition!

Vicki said...

Does every picture need a need a reason? Hmmmm ... for some people ...yes. I would say for most people. The average person takes pictures because of an occasion. (ie. a birthday, 1st day of school, new baby, etc)

But, I don't thing photographers are average people. Photographers use more than just "the occasion" in their pictures. They see the rich tones, the shadows, they feel and help create a mood and wonder of a moment in time.

For a "photographer" is is not necessarily a "need" but a "want" to express something. Although , it's not always a conscience effort.

Country Mouse Studio said...

it's an awesome photo, very artistic - light and dark

TheMuddledMarketPlace said...

doesn't every picture.....call forth something from our heart?

...and isn't that the reason why we didn't delete it?
...or isn't that the reason why we printed it up?

Scented Sweetpeas said...

Love that photo. I think in a way getting into photography makes you see everything with fresh eyes, everything has something interesting about it you just need the right angle. I was walking to school this morning with my slr hidden under my coat (as it was -4degc) and pointed out how beautiful the recycling bin looked with the frost on it and another parent then started looking at everything around her with a fresh eyes too. Magical, photography is a lovely art :-)

Chibi Janine said...

I think my son who is three has the better photo sense than me, every thing is a wonder like the edge of the radiator to the vacuum cleaner, they might not be the best photos as he is in the process of running to the next picture while taking the first but they are free and he has no inhibitions on what a photo should be of.

A beatiful window shot that needs no reason other than it looks nice.

bruce said...

way back when we had to wait for pics to develope, we never really knew if they were what we wanted or not, but invariably they become a moment forever captured in time... never lost as long as we have the picture.

today we (i) just look at the screen and delete the bad ones, without a moments notice or thought.

pictures do not need a reason but they do capture a moment.

i look at the pic and determine what it says to me..

*art is the translation of the moment to the medium*


stupid stuff i see and hear
bruce johnson jadip

darlin said...

I don't believe that every picture needs a reason, I also believe that not every reason needs a picture. I do because I can and if it makes my heart dance, that's mine and in knowing that I appreciate "it" that much more.

It makes sense to me. :-) And I would have stopped for this shot as well given the opportunity.

Karen S. said...

Maybe it's the power of the light drawing you in out of the darkness! I love the fact that I have the control to snap whatever, as long as it's worthy to me, that's all I ever need...and funny how so often those random shots can become very important! Nonetheless, it's a marvelous photo!