Photographs or Expressions of Emotion

We spend a great deal of time talking about and trying to understand the concepts and the structure and the composition of photographs though Victor Burgin, Martin Lister, Lev Manovich, and Fred Ritchin but to most photographs mean a lot more then just these few things that are taught in class. Coming from someone who grew up with a father who was in photography the art of capturing the moment is very important but why we capture it, why that moment in history matters. The main reason why people take photographs now and through out time is the emotion. Each photograph in the world carries some sort of emotion to it. Whether or not the photograph is a landscape or a portrait a photograph holds the emotions of the moment in them.


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These two photos are both taken by me, one is just a pure landscape of the beach in Sea Isle City and the second is my friend’s husband falling asleep with their baby fast asleep on his chest. When looking at these pictures and when taking these pictures I feel more about the emotion that the moment has captured. Tell me that you do not feel any emotion looking at these photos rather then thinking about the composition. The emotion is what is most important in a photograph not how or why it is made. The emotion behind the photograph is why we take it, why we share it, why we cherish it.


12 thoughts on “Photographs or Expressions of Emotion

  1. I agree with your post. All photos carry some kind of emotion or story. Both of the photos you used in your post describe this concept perfectly. Your landscape photo best represents a relaxing and beautiful environment. As for the portrait of your friend’s husband and child, I believe that they can represent the same exact meaning. Both photos offer a sense of comfort and serenity. It’s ironic because each of these photos are extremely different. It is amazing how a portrait and a landscape can give the interpreter the same exact meaning. I think you did a wonderful job getting your point across.


  2. I completely agree with your post! People take photos to capture a moment and to capture the emotion during that moment. That is what my whole photo essay is about, capturing the emotion of the moment, the emotion I am capturing is love. Just the the photo of the man with the baby on his chest, you were capturing the love and connection the man and his baby have.


  3. I really agree with this post, I feel like the photographers who do the best are the ones who do not sit there making sure they are obeying the rule of thirds but rather the ones who are willing to experiment in order to capture the raw emotion that is being displayed. I always wanted to be a wedding photographer as a side job because there is something about capturing the expressions, happy, loving, crying, that fascinates me. I think that often times we get caught up in how to take a picture that we forget about why we are taking it and what feeling we want to capture.


  4. I think this is very similar to what Weston talks about when he says that the picture has to do with how the photographer interprets the meaning; that is the main point of what is being conveyed. I feel emotion in the second picture because I’m touched at the intimacy of the moment. I think if the photographer captures images in a certain way, emotion will just naturally be interpreted by the viewer.


  5. I think you are a hundred percent true. Many photographers are photographing an emotion, but I do not think that means that composition needs to be comprised to do that. Based on what we are looked at and discussed in class, composing the photo correctly using the rule of thirds, depth, framing, leading lines, etc. all add to the emotion in the photo as well as the meaning behind it.


  6. I agree! Although there are definitely components and rules that make some pictures better than others, emotions can definitely play a big part in how a picture turns out. If we didn’t feel emotion about something, then why would we take a picture of it? We wouldn’t.


  7. I think that the moment being captured is what depends on the emotion. While the Sea Isle picture has compositional components that illicit an emotion, the second photo does not need compositional components. The moment being captured and what it means to people is what creates the emotion. I have several pictures in family photo albums that look similar to that one. While my mother didn’t use the rule of thirds or symmetry, the picture of my father holding me while fast asleep shows a bond and a moment of love captured in time. I think photos need to have some sort of emotion, regardless of how perfect they are captured. It’s the moments we want to remember, not whether we lined up the elements perfectly or balanced out the photo.


  8. This was a really inspiring post to read. I love the idea that everything tells a story, especially pictures. I think they have so much to them, and they make you feel things, but also convey emotions and its amazing to me.


  9. Berger explains that for every picture taken, the photographer had a reason behind why he/she took the picture. I think this reason is usually because of the way the scene or event made them feel. Almost everything we see in life evokes some time of emotion from us, and this is why we choose to capture things in a photograph. The interesting thing is that the photograph can evoke a different emotion from the viewer than the photographer felt when capturing it.


  10. I like the point that you made about how emotions are what are truly captured in the image. When taking pictures, your feeling toward the subject is usually what draws you in. However, I think that after taking the pictures, even if out of emotion, some elements of composition were still used that you may not have thought about while taking the picture. In Rowse’s 5 elements of composition, she states that lines are one of the elements. In the picture with your friend’s husband, the lines on his shirt and on the blanket add to the composition of the photograph. Overall, I still get the point that you are trying to make and love how both images capture the same feeling, of relaxation.


  11. I agree! I feel that emotion has a lot to do with even taking the pictures that we do. Without emotion, something sparking us to want to take that photo the photo does not exist. Composition is a big part of what makes a photo great but it does not explain the meaning behind the photo or why we took it for that matter. At times we just take photos to express ourselves and others.
    I think sometimes it’s ok to not always follow the rules. To try something new and give a deeper meaning then what originally meets the eye. I know I recently gave my seven year old sister my cell phone and it was returned with a variety of selfies as well as my family laughing as we baked cookies. When I asked her why she took the, off center/badly focused, photos she said “because it looked like you were having fun” that was it. She did not take it for a deeper meaning besides to capture the emotions our family was displaying while baking cookies.


  12. I also, completely agree! Emotion is everything. When I was taking my photos for my photo essay, I was much more concerned about the feelings my peers (you guys) would feel towards each photo, and get what I was expressing. I wanted my photos to strike a nerve with you, maybe pull on a heart string or two. I honestly did care more about that then you guys pointing out how I angeled the photos and what not.


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