Every photograph tells a literal story. The image itself is a story. Then there is the story behind why the photographer took it — what was included in the image or left out, why it was taken, the lighting and mood. And then, there is the story that is told because of the viewers’ response or what it means to someone looking at it.
In Henry Carroll’s book, “Photographers on Photography, How the Masters See, Think & Shoot,” I was struck by this quote from Jason Fulford:
“When a person looks at a photograph you’ve taken,
they will always think of themselves”
Henry Carroll in his commentary notes, “right after we interpret the literal aspects of the image…we enter into a second, much more personal meaning. The second reading is informed by elements such as our memories, personal experiences, tastes and cultural backgrounds…this second reading is unpredictable and entirely outside the photographer’s control. For Fulford, this gap between what is pictured and what it might mean is where photographs come alive”
There is an image on my website whose owner told me it touches her deeply to the point of tears when she reflects on it. Another image has been described by its owner as “art that stirs the soul.” For yet another owner, their print has an intimate feeling, and a nostalgic tone with a sense of timelessness. It is these kinds of personal reflections that turn the literal stories behind the images into art that means something to you. That is what brings an image to life and gives it real meaning.
It is personal reflections like these that I value in delivering Limited and Personal Exclusive editions to you. For example, these two images, “No More General Store” and “Guard to History”, became fine art Limited Edition prints as a result of direct discussions about the photographs with people who had seen them and wanted prints for their own reasons. In the case of “Guard to History,” the backstory is this photograph is of the guard booth on the grounds of Mount Vernon near George Washington’s tomb. It is empty and even a little weathered. It was taken in the winter months…but there is a little light reflection on the bushes. Perhaps the title should have a question mark after it?