The Emotions of Photography

When you look at this picture what does it make you feel?



Does it remind you of something? 

Some of the many descriptions I have heard are spooky, enchanting, magical, peaceful and scary.  It could be any of those things.  It all depends on the viewer.  

Being the one who took it, I see the photo as peaceful.  I remember standing at the end of the road at 5:30 in the morning watching the first rays of sun filter through the trees.  

The only sounds were birds and the ocean in the distance.  It was calm and beautiful.  

But being that no-one else was there with me, the feelings that you, the viewer, have when looking at the image comes from whatever memory it might stir in you.


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Our brain works in an interesting way.  It will take something we see or experience and try and match it to something we already know or have experienced in the past.  

It will then send a message to tell us how to feel about that particular thing or person or place.  All of this happens so quickly we could never be aware of it.  

Have you ever had a person come into your life that you’ve just met but feel like you have known forever?  

That is most likely because the person has traits that match someone you know well such as a parent or sibling.  

Maybe they physically resemble them, talk like them or have mannerisms like them.  Our brain recognizes those things and gives you that message of familiarity.      

When looking at a photo similar things are occurring.  The image will stir a memory or emotion in you causing you to have a feeling towards it.  

Perhaps the people who think this image is spooky or scary relate it to the haunted forests of childhood stories.  

Perhaps those that say it is magical or enchanting relate it to places where fairies might live.  Or perhaps it is something else completely.  

What was your initial reaction?  Can you look back and see why you might have had that feeling?


What about these images?

What do they make think of?  Your childhood, parents, grandparents, somewhere you've been?


Can you look back and see why you might have had that feeling? 

One of the things I enjoy most about being a photographer is having the ability to transport someone to another place even if just for a few minutes.  

I love when people tell me that one of my photos reminds them of a place they used to visit with a parent or grandparent.  I can see that memory sitting in their eyes just for a moment.  

Many of them thank me and I am so grateful to have given them that.  There are so many emotions in photography.  I can look at my photos and know exactly what I was feeling in the instant I took them.  

For others, it can bring up memories of family, loves, trips or first experiences creating in them feelings of joy, love, bitter-sweet or melancholy. 

Photography is a beautiful art form that keeps us in touch with people and places.  It is the creator of emotion, the keeper of memories.