Part 3. Exploring..and Reaching... Your Full Potential in Photography
New Uses for your Photos and New Roles for You.... if you choose them!
What are some main goals/purposes/intents for taking photos? I suppose one answer could be "None - I really don't have or think about uses, I 'just' take photos!" And that is true of most of us at one time or another: we "just take pictures of the child's birthday party" so that the "moment" is captured and can be shared. Right? But capturing an event and sharing it is a purpose - however common and casual it may be.
Perhaps our picture-taking efforts would be better served, be more useful, give more satisfaction, if we did give some thought to aspects like the following, using the birthday example: being sure all attendees are captured...and each while displaying various emotions or playing games or eating cake, or catching their expressions as gifts are opened and so on ....it's not all about "the birthday girl or boy." The thought might creep into your mind "maybe the kids would like a calendar with the party photos, one for each month' and so on.
As another example, maybe you or your kids or a young neighbor wonder "what does a water drop look like when it hits the surface of water? ...or a balloon look like when it explodes? A humming bird with its wings "stopped"... a lightning strike during a stormy visit to the Grand Canyon, etc. All these examples fit the category "stopping fast action". But not all 'things normally unseen' are fast moving. You can also reveal very tiny things through a microscope, or very large things through a telescope, or capture rays not usually seen- infrared, x-rays, even animal activity in the dark of night.... These are all examples of what we might call the role of Explorer.
The following Table summarizes a simple grouping of Intents - things you want to do or accomplish, and the type of role you would be playing for each intent choice.
Now, having different intents does not mean that you continue to take photos the same way, just for different purposes. Rather, various intents usually modify what you wish to take and in what way. For example, if you were documenting a civic problem with, say, garbage uncollected or stored in poorly secured landfills, you might decide to emphasize or give most of your efforts to the worst cases (while revealing this bias to consumers of your images.) On the other hand, if you were "documenting" protesters carrying signs on both sides of some issue, as a documenter, you would have an obligation for true balance - taking and posting photos on each side in the same proportions as they were represented at the protest.
Well, for now we'll let the table serve as a reminder, actually a menu, of different roles and intents you might like to take on... for your next shoot, or for your photo "career." The choice (and Role) is yours!
These short essays are intended to get readers to think more about a given topic. I plan to expand and update them a bit in the near future. JV