Is photography about seeing or being looked at?

by  guest blogger Cristiano Burmester from Brazil

The first time I heard that question I immediately thought about the relationship between a photographer and a model during a photography session.

A simple portrait is a good example of how photography is not a one person statement. What I mean by that is that the outcome is the sum of a collaborative effort. It is the result of the photographers  ability  to communicate with the person in front of his lens, and of course, whoever is posing in front of the camera, also plays an important role in this photographic conversation. While this example is relatively easy to understand I’d like to take this conversation a step further.

How about if the same question is posed to a landscape or still life photographer ?

The idea behind understanding photography as a dialog process is to recognize the need to respect each individual element visually as a valid approach to photography. During our careers we will face clients demands, market trends and the need to respond to them, but also we also must continue to grow as photographers.

Based on my own experience, professional growth in your photography business comes from three sources:

a) Professionalism: photographic competence, business skills, marketing and promotion.

b) Creativity: originality, ability to adapt to on set changing conditions, imagination and visualization, and image freshness.

c) Communication: your ability to establish a dialog and by that I mean, communicating with your client, with your subject and your audience.

There is no doubt that becoming and maintaining yourself as a successful photographer is no easy task, especially in the photography business environment that we are in right now,  but in the end it is the result of being able to  “communicate” through all of the above mentioned aspects.

The way you look to your subject determines the way your are going to be looked at, regardless if it is a person, an object or a landscape. Sometimes we get so overwhelmed by all the matters that we have to individually perform as photographers that we forget that, above all, we are in the communication business.

I’d be interested to her from you how you approach the two-way communication in your photography business?

Comments

  1. Nice article. The way I think of it is that there are 3 basic pieces to the photographic puzzle: the subject, the photographer, and the viewer. Each contributes to the end result, which is an impression left with the viewer. Some of my favorite photographs I've taken are those where the viewer is bringing the most to the table. That is, each person sees something different in it & the photograph actually becomes an expression of THEIR personality.

  2. Hi David,
    Nice comments ! I agree with you.
    Best wishes,
    Cristiano

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