“It’s a puzzlement”

2010Jul18_1449Woodbury, Connecticut © Steven Willard

Okay, let me say right off, I don’t know why I like this image, but I keep coming back to it. I saw these two windows leaning against the stone post as I drove by. I didn’t stop right then or even slow down, but the image had tripped something because a couple of miles down the road I found myself turning around to go back and make a photograph. I couldn’t explain it then and I can’t explain it now. It’s a mystery to me.

I’m going to hazard the guess that everyone reading this has at least one image that you like but you can’t explain why. Does it matter as long as you like it even if you don’t know why? But what are the implications? If you can’t explain, at least to yourself, what makes a good image, how will you know when you see one? In an earlier post I asked the question how I could make better images if I didn’t know what made them good in the first place. How would I know what to look for? Maybe we just go with our gut reactions and leave the other questions for someone else to sort out. To borrow from the King of Siam “it’s a puzzlement”.* Maybe trying to sort out these questions is a waste of time and effort. Maybe it’s best just to take the photographs and stop worrying about the rest.

*I think I remember this line being spoken by Yul Brynner  in the movie “The King and I”. I’m not certain, nor am I certain why I would remember it in the first place. It’s just another puzzlement.

Pentax K10D with kit zoom processed and converted to black and white in Photoshop CS4.


3 comments on ““It’s a puzzlement”

  1. Well, I am glad that you went back to get this shot…it’s the mystery of the “why” that keeps me going, photographically, most of the time.


    • Thanks Melinda, I sense a kindred spirit. It has taken me a long time (a lot longer than it should have) to realize that it isn’t the technical aspects of photography that are central to my interest. I have finally realized that once I had learned enough to be able to produce a photograph that represented my vision I could concentrate on the more ephemeral questions; why being central.


      • Whatever is the opposite of a “technical photographer” is what I am. An “emotional photographer” sounds a little over-wrought, but that’s all I can come up with. And it’s probably pretty close to how I shoot – it’s frequently things not unlike your two window frames that catch my attention, for reasons that I couldn’t articulate easily but that are nevertheless very compelling.

        So, to summarize: yes, a kindred spirit.


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