I suppose that I’ll start off with the ending: I don’t know, exactly, what makes a good photograph.
This morning, I awoke and decided to visit somewhere that I’d never been. After narrowing it down to a few choices, I decided on Riverbank Zoo and Botanical Gardens in Columbia, SC, about 90 minutes from where I live. I love zoos. If you love animals, they are a wonderful opportunity to see animals, up close and personal that you might not ever get to see in the wild.
I stayed about 2 hours until the temperature reached the 90+ degree mark, then decided to head for home. After importing my images, I saw that I had 148. After a quick first one of viewing, I was able to cut that down to about 132, as 16 of them where technically flawed – out of focus, mainly. Of those remaining 132, I had about 5 or 6 that I liked. Therefore, 6/148 made the ‘cut’, or about 4%. Nothing unusual, though, and nothing disheartening. This photo of a Eurasian Eagle Owl was one that I liked. Several others that I took of him didn’t quite connect with me … even though it was my intent to make shots count, to capture ‘something’ with each shot – 96% of the time, it just doesn’t happen, but those 4% that it does happen, makes it all worthwhile.
What is that connection, I wonder? What makes a photograph work? Some say that photo has to stand on its own and tell a story. I heartily disagree with this premise, as there is no story, only a very tiny slice of time. Any story assigned to/placed upon the picture is the viewer’s own. Perhaps, then, it is that the photo allows the viewer to care enough to stop, wonder, and place their own story upon it. Probably, you do not see the same story that I did, or have the same sense of wonder, or maybe the subject does not interest you at all.
Sometimes, I do attempt to tell a story, as one usually unfolds if you stand there and watch long enough. I was watching the interactions between an adult and a juvenile baboon. The younger one was playing and basically harassing the older one, as kids are wont to do, eventually, the older one let the younger know that it wasn’t playtime. I tried to capture some of their interactions, but didn’t quite pull it off. This was the best that I could do – this was an ‘almost’ shot, but it is missing something. It looks, to me, like a therapy session. LOL
I guess that the ever-continuing quest for knowledge of what makes a good photograph keeps me going, especially in light of a 4% success rate.