Do you see a story in the photo ?

I’d like to receive a few more opinions about my photo. The one comment I recall was the photo did not tell a story. That was very interesting to me because I chose this photo because of the story it told (to me). I tend to have alot of landscape and misc. rock / flower photos, so this one was outside my comfort zone anyway.  Although the story is clear to me, possibly the story within the photo is difficult to see. What do you think ?

I don’t think the judges had the title so I won’t give it here either.

thanks for your thoughts

7 responses on “Do you see a story in the photo ?

  1. Jeff Morse

    I was surprised by the comment, because it was clear as soon as I saw it. My only thought is that the subject was not easy to identify,, but the background was perfect. Neat idea.

  2. Edward Kunzelman

    My suggestion is to wait a few days and give other people a chance to weigh in… and then explain the picture. I have to take the opposite view from Jeff Morse and say that I have no idea what I’m looking at, therefore it’s hard to read a story into the image. But then I’m the person who looks at an artist’s exhibition statement and wonders how in the heck they get that story out of their art. Sign of a simple mind? Maybe. Although I think the whole thing about “telling a story” through a picture is overrated. It must have been an idea pushed by the photojournalist group, or maybe trying to just push the envelope too far. Do landscape photos really need to tell a story? And consider one of the most famous pictures of all times… the Marines raising the flag on Iwo Jima sends shivers down my spine. Obviously there’s a powerful story behind that picture. But to a young suburban kid whose biggest challenge in life has been getting to the school bus stop on time, the image probably means nothing.

    Just as an abstract is open to interpretation, so is the story of any picture. That said, any hope of communicating a story begins with recognizing the subject. In this case, I’ve looked at this image far longer than I would have otherwise due to the discussion raised here. I still can’t tell what I’m looking at. The best I can venture is a side profile of a bird with a beak and big floppy ear. Might as well be an ink blot test though. I doubt that my impression is correct. I also recognize that I typically see details first and sometimes miss the big picture. I’m sure everyone’s heard the expression “can’t see the forest for the trees.” That’s me when looking at photography. But because that’s my way of viewing photography, I’d like to see greater sharpness and clarity throughout your picture. Not having seen the original high-resolution image, I might be wrong, but it appears that much of the main subject is out of focus. And if the background is indeed part of the story, I’d like to gain more visual clues from slightly greater clarity there as well.

    I suspect that after someone explains the subject, I’ll feel like an idiot for being so blind. But that is a widespread risk you face when neither the literal nor figurative aspects of an image are readily obvious.

  3. donna fullerton

    I thought it was a caterpillar on first glance and then couldn’t figure out what it was. I like the colors, but my brain is trying to ascertain what I am seeing as it is a bit abstract. It was only after you mentioned the people that I saw them. My eyes were on the flower. Having painted since I was a kid, I tend to see and think photography in more realistic terms. When one is there taking the shot, seeing what is there in 3D, our mind takes in it and fills in the negative space. In photography, we are given a 2D version and asking our mind/eyes to fill in the rest and it takes longer for some folks like me. That being said, I do like the background colors and figures. If it were mine, I would lighten the flower/stalk for emphasis and draw the eye to it as it is the subject.

  4. jamiezeez

    quite honestly, it looks like a dried up, under-exposed flower of some kind. A photo should pretty much speak for itself.

  5. Melanie Morris

    Hi Bob
    Just for fun and Jeff’s “ten positions,” take it to the Monument and place it in front of red sandstone along with some other, small rocks. Show more of the stock. Try laying it down on the red rock. Blur the background with the red sandstone. Gorgeous colors in the stock!! Would you bring it to the meeting?

  6. Bob Peterson Post author

    I appreciate your thoughts. I think the background was too obscure so the story was too difficult to see. Big flaw for a photo, that has a story ! In the background, the master gardner is sitting on a raised bed, elbows on knees, almost praying (for it to be spring so he can plant). There is a clay pot next to him and there is dead bamboo and another white pot behind him. His head and hands are also the Terracotta pot color. It was a warm day in February, too early to garden. The title was “Thinking (of spring)”.

    thanks again. In hind site, maybe I achieved one goal of mine. As an Engineer I am easily literal. For once I was too abstract !

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