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In the eye of the beholder

What makes a good photograph?  What makes a great one?  And what makes a photograph exceptional?  For anyone who aspires to become better within any craft, the pursuit of the exceptional is a lifelong path wrought with both joy and disappointment.   Yesterday as I spoke with Tracy and although she is 3000 miles away, I could hear in her voice a feeling that I have encountered many times as I too chase that elusive goal, disappointment and frustration.  The twins who sleep often in my photographic bed.

She and I have begun to participate in Onexposure, a blog that I mention in the musing below.   Unlike other blogs we have participated in, Onexposure simply judges imagery based on categories.  If the ‘screeners’ cannot decide if an image is ‘worthy’ to be published, they turn that decision over to the other photographers who participate in the group.  No system is perfect and within the scope of what the blog is about, the system makes sense.

But like any art form, the beauty of a photograph is truly in the eye of the beholder.  For me, a photograph must contain soul – that elusive and individual element that is the right of each individual to judge.  The pretty and smooth, those images that bring the ‘oohs and aahs’ seduce us all, myself included.  For me and others like me, attaining the exceptional is a personal path, one whose roadmap is as individual as the person following it.

Soon several other photographers will gather here in the Bay Area.  We all met through online blogs and for many of us, we have become friends.  Each of them displays their own soul in each of the pieces they capture and display.  What we take from our budding relationships will inevitably appear in our individual work.  The soul of who we are and who we each become will reveal itself through our imagery.  And that can only be judged by each individual creator.  Tracy, your path toward the exceptional is apparent with each new image.  Stay the course, trust your ‘gut’ and maintain a standard that only each individual can set.

I too will heed my own words.

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