The Therapy Shoot: Articulating Emotion in Prints

This post was born out of some photos I took while feeling quite awful as well as a quote from Adams that I think really sheds light on the power of the photograph not only as a way to express emotion, but as a way to communicate it.

“There are always two people in every picture: the photographer and the viewer.”

These photos were a bit of a tantrum for me– blurred, muddied, focusing on the drab and the banal. There are patterns, but I do not try to ascribe a purpose to them. The arrows in the road point multiple directions, the crappy apartment is where I lived for a year, the rain drops are not defined but fade into a grey sort of mush. The bridge is fallen in with loose rays of light crawling from top to bottom, and the close-up of the walkway leads nowhere but to brush and blur.

However, steeped in my emotion, I believe I failed to convey my feelings and themes of the photographs to the viewer. How? I don’t think I even thought about the viewer. I don’t think I cared. I had isolated myself in the photograph– forgetting about the other person that makes it a photograph. Unless the audience feels compelled to participate and view these prints, they are not photographs. They are merely impressions– serving as therapy for the photographer, a highly personal outlet with perhaps no outside purpose or power.


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