I like to think that I’m a thotful guy. If you ask me a tough question, I’ll often come up with an interesting perspective (at least to me) or I’ll admit if I don’t know. My problem is that I often get stumped by easy questions.
When people look at one of my photos and ask if a scene really looked like that, they are not looking for great insight or a long, complicated treatise on the nuances of photography. The answer they expect is implied and short – yes. It should be an easy one since I was there. But it’s not.
On a bad day I can over analyze anything but this question has left me stumped. If I say no, the person wants to know what it really looked like it. If I say yes, it seems like I surrender all my photographer skills. If I explain that if you crawled inside my camera, stretched yourself over the sensor and looked out the lens and allowed yourself to be adjusted by the camera … then it would begin to look like the scene. At this point I start being viewed as the crazy person!
I recall viewing the pictures of the condo we rented in Hawaii years ago. It looked nice but modest which made sense given the reasonable price. When we arrived, I was surprised at how much nicer the place was than what I expected. I even tried to figure out how they managed to make photos that accidently undersold the place but I never quite figured it out.
My photos of mountains end up the same way. Oh sure some of them are beautiful enough but not one of them ever shows the grandeur of being there. I don’t recall anyone else’s images doing that either. It might be the simple problem of trying to reduce thousands of feet into a photo. I just can’t capture the feeling of being so incredibly small looking at a photo of a mountain and that’s really the best part for me.
Depending on the skill of the photographer, photos can accidently make things better or worse all the time. Photos don’t lie, according to the old expression, that skillfully neglects to mention that they don’t tell the truth either. It is a rather inconvenient obstacle when trying to answer a simple question. So what do I do with the question? After much consideration, I have come up with a new, pithy answer – yes.
Let the chips fall where they may.