Exposure

I started out, as most of us do, being overly preoccupied with sharpness and focus. Of course, there’s a place for sharpness and focus and some compositions require them more than others. But there is also lots of scope for playing with them and sometimes leaving them behind. This is true even for documentary photography, where selective focus and graininess can produce amazing results.

For this week’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge, Sofia dares us to show how we play with exposure in order to create mood, movement, and emotion. I have selected a few photos shot a few days back, in Brussels, at a procession organized for Dia de Muertos. I remember following the same procession three years ago, before the Covid pandemic.

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Single Photo Stories: Autumn Sun

There’s something discreetly glorious in this lazy October sunset.

Backlit fallen leaves and mushrooms. The almost imperceptible breeze. The buzz of insects slowly rising through the forest like a mist.

I am sitting in a small forest clearing with the sun on my face. There’s nothing I can add to the scene, nothing that can be improved. I am only witnessing the moment.

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Single Photo Stories: The Oak Forest

It’s starting to get dark. All of a sudden, an evening breeze breaks the almost perfect silence of the forest. It moves millions of leaves and brings them to life. There’s a cosmic sigh carried by millions of voices. A long out-breath. A muffled voice trying hard to pronounce something.

I cannot understand what it says but somehow I know it’s something that concerns me. And you. And anybody.

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Single Photo Stories – new weekly series

I am starting a weekly series focused on stories built around single photos. I will keep all stories under 100 words. Being concise is a skill, probably one of the most difficult to acquire. Stories can be directly linked to the photo (how it was taken, what was happening) or they can simply use the photo as a writing prompt.

For today, I chose this grainy photo on a windmill in a small nature reserve close to where I live.

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Triptych

Since Sarah (from Travel with me) invited us to share three of our favorite photos, I thought about what I would choose and, more broadly, about how we relate critically to our own work.

The photos that tend to stay with me are those that tell a story that’s meaningful to me. Those that reconnect me to that past moment when I took the photo, but also to the story, emotion, mood, or idea that stayed with me over time. Although I tend to overthink and over-intellectualize in other parts of my life, when it comes to photography I go with the gut. I know (or feel) that some compositions make sense long before I start analyzing them.

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Building a photo project

If there’s something that connects the various dots of my posts here, it’s my interest in storytelling. I don’t mean the technical aspects of telling a story, although those are important too. I mean the reasons we tell stories, the way they change us, and the roles they take in our lives.

There are many ways of telling stories, some more obvious than others. Telling a fairy tale is storytelling, but so is writing a novel. Or the letters and emails we send to family and friends. Or the photos we take. The books we keep around, the pictures we hang on the walls, and our social media presence are also ways of telling a story about ourselves.

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