Why : Mastering the Photographic Writing

Photography is a form of art as I wrote in this article. Art makes it possible to express emotions and to transmit messages. In this article, I also explained that photography is a very interesting medium because it is easy to implement.

For me, photography is a form of writing that does not go through words but in other, more complex ways because they appeal to emotions and feelings.

This photograph of a female gelada in Ethiopia is an example of photographic writing. It is part of the collection "Portraits of Geladas".
This photograph of a female gelada in Ethiopia is an example of photographic writing. It is part of the collection "Portraits of Geladas".

Writing in Photography Goes Through Five Steps

My method for developing a photographic writing to create interesting photographs is divided into five distinct parts:

  • To write well photographically, a photographer must already know what one is talking about.
  • When you want to write with photos, it means that you have something to say, either messages or emotions. So, you need experience.
  • To know different ways to express oneself in photo is an asset. This is the panoply of tools.
  • Knowing the writing and having something to say is not enough to take a photo interesting. We need a language.
  • Finally, the last step is the finalization of photos for a given project.

The first four steps are about the photographer. Photographs exist only in a digital form that only he can look at and evaluate.
The fifth step concerns the viewers. It is from this moment that the photographs exist physically. It is from this stage that will begin the dialogue between the author photographer and the viewer.

This is the method I use for all my photo projects. It is certain that detailing each part would be much too long as part of a blog. During the photo workshops that I organize, I can afford to detail the different points and adapt to the personality of each photographer.

A Little Story of Books

I have been outside of the country for a few weeks. I must finalize several contracts. I left my Texas adoption for three months. This trip will be long. I immerse myself in my secret universe to draw the energy necessary to achieve the best contracts.

I am an avid reader. I like writing and writers who know how to make me travel far from everyday worries. As I travel more than six months in a year, the tablet with its subscription to digital libraries has become a source of escape over time. But even these interesting digital books do not give me the pleasure of touching and turning pages. The same goes for the photographs I create. They only exist when I feel the print in my hands. Before this almost final stage, they are only images and not photographs.

The place where I live when I come to France is a family place. One of the rooms houses my office. A huge library stands proudly along one of the walls. It contains almost all my memories of my departure for a new life in the United States. The shelves bend under the weight of the thousands of books I read before I left. All these paper books are full of good times when I escaped by greedily turning pages of books written by Marcel Pagnol, Jean D'Ormesson, Isaac Asimov and many others who have done what I have become.

This morning, I wanted to find the special smell of paper. I wanted to go through the words printed with black ink. The choice is difficult. My fingers run on the shelves in search of a novel. I do not want to read poetry or essay. I want a novel that will make me travel, escape.

Suddenly, "Terre des hommes" written by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry emerges. It is obvious. I sit in one of the chairs in the office. With time the pages have yellowed. How long will they last? They are like my memories. They disappear little by little and will end up forgotten.

"The earth teaches us more about us than all books." I remember. This first sentence of the novel was one of the triggers for my passion for nature. It remains today obvious to me. Even if I had forgotten it textually, the general idea continues to guide my steps and my passions every day that passes. I plunge avidly into the story. I remember reading this book in 1989. I was leaving university with my engineering degree in my pocket. I liked the style. I had retained the first sentence. But the content seemed to me very far from my reality. Today with a little experience and a lot of perspective on life and men, I can finally measure the scope of words written by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.

Maybe it's the same for photography? With experience, I realized that it takes time and having lived to succeed in creating interesting photographs.

Today, I came to understand and admit that photography is art that must be used with caution but especially that it is a major art that allows me to express myself. I hope that one day I will find a way to express myself totally with photography. Today I sometimes manage to express certain emotions, some states of souls but it is quite unequal. I really hope this day will come before my last breath. It's so difficult.

The question that plagues me every day is how some writers and creators quickly found their style and a way of expressing what they had on their hearts. This task seems to me insurmountable. It's not for lack of trying and working each in this direction. The further I go, the more this search seems endless.

Definition of Writing

Writing is defined by a system of graphic signs used to record an oral message so that it can be stored and / or transmitted.

But writing is also a way of expressing one's thought through writing, sound, and image.

If these two definitions of writing are taken in the first degree, it is possible to say that photography is a form of writing just like poetry or prose. In this article, we showed that photography is a form of expression.

We must never lose sight of the fact that writing is only the definition of a sequence of symbols to signify something concrete. Writing alone is not enough to convey messages or express emotions. A language will be necessary to organize the writing and thus to be able to express itself.

Why so Few Photographs Are Interesting

In this case, why so few photographs produced every day in the world are as uninteresting to watch? We have two possible answers to this question.

The first answer that most photographers only reproduce what others have photographed without question. They do not wonder why a photograph was created and especially how it was. Taking a camera in hands is an important act that few photographers understand. Taking a camera in hands is using a tool that will allow a person to express one or more emotions, to convey a message.

Cameras, whether they are real cameras or embedded in a mobile phone, have become everyday objects. Most people use them as if they were using a kitchen utensil. Their ease of use and the clever marketing of the camera makers have meant that most photographers are no longer aware of what they are doing.

Today, cameras are used to make selfies or to testify that we were on the scene of a given event or to show that we have the means to go on vacation in a place that few have the chance to know. What an emptiness! This intellectual vacuum often annoys me.

Most photographers forget that they have in their hands an extraordinary tool to share their emotions, convey messages and show the world their vision.

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