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The Art of Not Showing

If you read some books about photography or go to some photo clubs, you can often hear that "photography is the art of seeing". In this scope, new photographers are told about "seeing differently the most common thing in their life". There is something true, photographer tend to look at things differently and by so, creating their own view of the world. If you are committed enough, you start the see the world as a great opportunity for photographic creativity. But I personally think, this is only a small part of being a good photographer and create interesting pictures.

There is no formula but looking back, there is something more important in photography. The art of not showing. It's kind of a paradox in photography when you are told, as a photograph, to see differently. Looking at what's will touch people while looking at your pictures, it's usually the open gate to their inner feeling. I have the strong impression that a photographic work should not be fully completed in order to keep your viewer free of "preconceived idea". The picture should support the mind of the viewers to float, to be disturbed, to rethink their own feelings or even their own life.

But how do you do that as a photographer? Difficult question maybe when you take a picture, you are trying to reach the same level of questioning or at least allowing your pictures to open the same questionings for yourself. I'll try with some of my pictures but this is only my humble perspective...

A dead TV

A dead TV, ƒ/2.0, 135mm, tv on flickr

I took this picture in my home village, the street is known to me. But when I saw the TV set (dropped by a neighbour for the garbage collection), this triggers many questions. Not only the simple fact of having a lost and out-of-context object in a street but the follow-up questions. Is technology so futile? Should we get rid of TV? How much garbage do we generate by just watching TV? So describing the whole reasoning why you take a picture, why you choose a specific framing... It is somehow related to this uncertainty and open questions that appears in your mind. So maybe the fact of seeing the lost TV, you see many other things.

Girls talking

Girls talking, ƒ/2.0, 135mm, girls on flickr

While waiting (in an uncomfortable position) on a bridge in Amsterdam, hoping that some people will walk on the other bridge... I heard two ladies talking in my back and moving toward the small river. Then they sit, they were so involved that the surrounding world didn't exist for them. What's the exact subject of the picture? Just some people talking? Maybe they seem so outside of the picture (not only due to the framing) we would like to know more about their discussions. Or maybe this is just a reflexion of our loneliness or the importance of talking.