A couple of weeks ago, I ordered a bunch of photo decals and stick ‘ums from Photojojo, one of my favorite online stores. If you haven’t heard of them, you must really check out their stuff because they sell a lot of really cool knick knacks for photographers. There’s even this cute little Polaroid necklace – I think I’ll buy that next time. Anyway, I finally got my order last Sunday, so I spent most of this afternoon just organizing my library and choosing photos that I want to send to the printer.

It was then that I realized how much my visual preference has changed over the last two months. I didn’t realize it, but lately, I think I have been shooting with a criteria of sorts. I suppose it’s bound to happen. Me, growing up, I mean. Last year, I think I was more concerned with composition and tricks and just learning the rules that I paid little attention to my subject. This time, I think my priorities have changed:

    1. Emotional tagging is important to me now, more than ever. I’d like to be able to look at a photo and answer the following questions: How did I feel when I took this shot? How did I feel when I looked at it on the computer? How will I feel when I look at this five years from now? I sometimes look at some pictures I took last year, and I cringe and ask myself, “What possessed me to take these photos in the first place?” Simply put, I want my pictures to have an emotional connection with me or my viewer. It is much like this quote by Story People:

I used to wait for a sign, she said, before I did anything. Then one night I had a dream and an angel in black tights came to me and said, you can start any time now, and then I asked is this a sign? And the angel started laughing and I woke up. Now, I think the whole world is filled with signs, but if there’s no laughter, I know they’re not for me.”

    2. Am I going to remember this shot five years from now? What memories will it stir? In a way, it’s related to #1.
    3. Is it pretty? I’m not even talking about the too-beautiful-it-will-blow-your-mind kind. It just has to be pretty. Or poetic. The kind that will make you smile or say, “ooohhhhh.” But that’s just because I like pretty things.
    4. Can I hang it on my wall? Or use it as a card? Or have it printed as part of a book?

Admittedly, there have been days, too when I totally disregarded my emotions and took a photo just to, well, show off my gear. Pathetic, really. I know because usually, after a few days, I would see these photos on my Flickr account, and then I would shake my head, and ask myself, “what was I thinking?”

~ by Sheila on February 16, 2010.

2 Responses to “Signs”

  1. omg, i do that too. i hate the feeling of looking at one of my photos and saying, ugh! what the heck? but that’s part of the learning process. the more we shoot the more we learn, i guess. i like the four questions, that’s a very good idea, i’ll have to think about that when i’m shooting.

  2. i guess its one of your most thought provoking on the blog.
    Emotional Tagging – now that is someting that i would have to try to reach for. my attitude was; i don’t give a damn sort…but i agree to your thoughts here. It is indispensable to have emotional tagging.

    by the way, at times don’t we just want to show off our gear 😉 i like it at times 🙂
    i really enjoyed reading this piece

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