The Search for “Wow”.
As I shoot lately, I ask myself what I’m looking for: “what image, what subject”? And if I find it, what then? What I am looking for is like love. Of all those we meet, only one leaves us dumbstruck, as if we were hit by lighting. “Wow!”. What will get us there with our images?
“IF YOU WANT TO BE A BETTER PHOTOGRAPHER, STAND IN FRONT OF MORE INTERESTING STUFF” – Michael Clark, from EXPOSED, quoting Jim Richardson – New Riders Press 2012
In Clark’s excellent book, he recounts the stories behind his superb images taken all over the world. But unless you are about to travel to the likes of Tahiti or Patagonia, the choice of location must be closer to home. And if we are looking for inspiration, our best images, the ones which will jump off the screen and elicit the “Wow” we seek, that special place can be just minutes away.
We all have them. You know, the one that draws you back. Maybe the beach, the woods, or our wonderful French Quarter. If asked why, we could give “reasons”, but none is better than what we “feel” in our heart. Wherever it is, we return, again and again. Like love, we feel it there.
There is a statue of a water nymph in New Orleans City Park on City Park Avenue. She is named “Chloe”. I returned to her yesterday morning. Certainly she is beautiful. She sits atop a pedestal, surrounded by water, shaded by majestic oaks. Her grace beckons, even though she is frozen in time. Hewn of bronze, her hands are soft and alluring. Her nakedness as natural as a gentle summer rain.
I walked around and around, shooting from every angle, lovely details. Then, naturally, I framed her with the sweeping limbs of a giant oak. It is difficult not to take a good picture of her.
But none seemed to capture the essence of this work of art. Then I looked away from her, down in the water where she was staring. Her beauty and mystery were transformed by the element from which she came.
Her fingers seemed to touch the water and the light illuminated her beauty. Light danced off of beautiful red leaves that had long since settled to the bottom of her pool. All a mere reflection, but so much more. Like love: soft, gentle and ethereal. So, take heed of that inner voice. Go where it takes you and search for the light. It will wow you.