This time I will try to define what makes an image successful. I’m particularly fond of the photo above, because it shows how – in photography – a chance, an accident and your confidence allows a little ‘miracle’ to happen. It was a gloomy, showery day, my camera needed a good clean… Above that my ‘subjects’ were in a continuous movement. I pressed the shutter intuitively, when a sudden impulse had ‘told’ me the perfect moment. When developing it I’ve noticed that the image is more blurred than I would have wished it to be. But the quality I expected (absolutely focused, clear and sharp) wouldn’t probably support the theme of ‘young kids playing in the rain’ so well, and the soft edges work beautifully. Then I’ve got some fun ‘burning’ the edges, not quite knowing where I’m going… But the final outcome has surprised me with its evocative strength (to the right you can see less-burned photo to compare them, click on the thumbnail to enlarge it). My experimental activity gave a sort of a new dimension, a new reading-path to this image. Then I’ve spotted ‘the doubles’ – 2 children, 2 umbrellas, 2 turkeys, 2 rubber wheels, 2 gates and 2 tall cases (clearly visible in the less-burned version)… pure accident, yet how ‘lucky’ one.
Above that, those two playing look almost identically as I and my brother looked when being their age. B & M are my own children. The photo has been captured in a place, where I had spent twenty uninterrupted years and which I visited for a brief period.
I spent some time thinking what, apart from the technical quality and purely personal value would make an image powerful for any viewer. These are notes I made in my sketchbook:
* powerful image brings memories, stimulates personal journeys in time and space
* powerful image connects one’s with her/his own existence, identity, surroundings
* it has its own logic, readable sense and/or story
* it has to be evocative, it cannot leave viewers ‘untouched’
* powerful image has a clear composition, nothing disturbs the reception of its main concept
* powerful image is a visual, intellectual and spiritual riddle, it provokes questions, it doesn’t supply easy answers
* it lives his own life, independent from its creator’s life
Being as self-critical as I’m used to be, I would call the B & M playing photo ‘a powerful image’ – powerful on a personal basis, powerful for me. And its power is something absolutely enchanting. I would wish anyone to make/find his/her own ‘powerful image’ at least once a month and… simply celebrate it.
Just to avoid any confusion: I used 35mm Ilford B&W film and Ilford fibre-coated paper.