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Are you feeling it?

Photos have the power to convey emotion. The way we choose to compose the scene and the technical choices we make can combine with the content to represent a feeling, through visual metaphor or symbolism.

Sometimes this is deliberately created at the moment of pressing the shutter. Sometimes it reveals itself later; maybe a happy accident or subconscious guidance. Either way it is a powerful way of communicating with the viewer.

The truth is in the viewing. Of course the emotion or feeling that the photographer intends to convey may not be what the viewer experiences. Cultural background and personal experiences guide our interpretation of visual imagery. That there may be several interpretations is not necessarily a weakness of the photo. Inspiring diverse emotions from one photo may be a strength.

Let’s look at some examples from a recent walk around Langland Bay. Notice the feelings that these photos generate for you before you read the text below.

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Photo 1 suggests uncertainty for me. Through a shallow depth of field I have created the representation of an unclear future, we cannot see where the path may lead. Though if we consider the truth of the scene, we know that Monty can see the way forward.

Photo 2 is in a similar vein to Photo 1. There is a degree of uncertainty and also potential barriers to what is unseen

Photo 3 suggests positive possibility (blue sky, sunshine), but also change (the autumnal leaves). For me these elements combine to imply change, opportunity and a hopeful future outcome.

Photo 4 uses a strong symbol to suggest that there is a clear direction we need to go. However the indistinct background could imply that the journey’s experiences may be uncertain.

What feelings did the photos inspire for you? Post your thoughts below in the comments box.

Edges of Life: using visual metaphors

I do like visual metaphors. During a recent mindful photography practice I was walking from home to Mumbles (a three mile+ stroll) when I took the first photograph in the selection below. At the time I was drawn by the change of tone and texture and chose to represent this (in my mind) in black and white.

After the first photo I realised two things. Firstly that there were lots of opportunities for similarly themed photos. Secondly that the movement from one texture/tone to another could represent a transition in our lives. Change is a constant in life. Some of these changes are sudden, jagged and distinct, others are more gradual.

I thought they would look interesting as diptychs; comparing one life change to another. The last one I felt worked best in colour. What do you think?

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