Motivation is a photography blog that discusses the creative aspects of photography. The posts will include thoughts about images and their interpretation, photographers and their work, technique, workflow, my ongoing projects, and perhaps even the occasional off topic rant.

The Image Within

I was planning to use a second photo for yesterdays post about monochromatic images. This picture, which was also taken on a workshop to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, is another example of the monochromatic presentation. I didn’t use it yesterday because I remembered something totally different about it that I wanted to share.

Pete's Lake
Upper Peninsula Of Michigan
Copyright Howard Grill

Almost two years ago, I attended Alain Briot and Uwe Steinmueller’s excellent Print Summit and Workshop. As part of that experience, the participants were to bring, for a private critique session with either Uwe or Alain, five or ten images that they had completed prior to the workshop. There was something that really appealed to me about this print, and it is one that I brought to the critique session. It is not easily seen on the small screen, but there is subtle visible detail in the distant land and trees on the right side of the photo. This, as well as the gentle tonal and color changes within the fog, really appealed to me.

The critique I received from Alain was very interesting and quite unexpected. He generally liked the photograph, but with reservation. To him, it didn’t seem to convey a particularly unique vision. One very nice aspect of this session was that he and Uwe actually spent a good amount of time with each participant. The quick “its OK” was therefore not the end of his analysis. As he spent more time with the print, he said that an interesting approach, and one that would more fully ‘personalize’ the image, would be to totally crop out the left side, thereby removing the identifiable land and trees, and use the remaining portion as an abstract involving color and tone. He felt there was a more unique and personal vision contained within the original image.

Abstract Crop
Copyright Howard Grill

I have mixed feelings about this version. Sometimes I really like it, as it focuses on the content of the image that attracted me to it in the first place. Other times I think that it misses by not conveying the experience of having been at the location. However, that might be a feeling that would only be meaningful to me, having been there. I am curious as to what others think about this version of the photo.

Either way, the session was a superb learning experience and one that gave me insight into another way of looking at and thinking about images. I learned an interesting approach and one that I will keep myself aware of in the future.