Looking with Intention

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The other day someone who was taking basic photography classes asked me how I knew when a photograph was “done” or “good”.  Obviously these are subjective answers, a photograph is done when it is done, it is good if it is good. My answer, paraphrasing myself here: A photograph is done and/or good when I feel it communicates whatever idea of concept I intended to communicate. However, there is so much more to what makes a photograph successful, or “good” than just that.

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Other than the obvious technical aspects (exposure, composition etc.) there is an emotional component to visual communication that is understood most likely on a subconscious level. I studied psychology in college, but am in no way an expert on the filed, more of a hobbyist. I do know what we find visually pleasing has a lot to do with our cultural, historical and evolutionary history.  So my advice to the budding photography student was to look at a lot of photographs, art, design and related subjects. You can find photographic inspiration in everything from nature to package design if you look at the world with intention.

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