A scene is something you take a picture of. A shot is the resulting image. Brightness refers to the amount of light in a scene. Exposure refers to the amount of light in a shot. Color refers to red, blue and green. Saturation, on the other hand, refers to how red the reds are, how blue the blues are and how green the greens are.
Pictures and words come together for me because I teach, but there are many other realms where they come together as well. Think about the gallery owner who has to caption the image as she hangs them on the wall. Think about the magazine editor who writes captions under each image to describe what is happening in the scene.
Think about the stock photographer who has to tag his images as he uploads them to the Internet for other people to find. Think about the act of searching for an image online. What words do you put into the search engine to describe the picture you have in your mind?
Words that describe images: contrast, clarity, detail, grain, noise, blur, soft, texture, pattern, emotion, mood, composition, light, dark, tone, hue.
When you see an image, what words come to mind? Do you think more literally or more figuratively? When you see a picture of a rose, do you think, “rose,” “flower,” “nature,” or “love?” We dream in moving pictures and we describe dreams in words.
Imagine a film director taking a screenplay and creating images that will bring those words to life. News websites are equally as impactful because of images and the words. Imagine a news website with only pictures. Imagine a news website with only words.
There is interplay between the art forms here that I particularly enjoy. I am a huge fan of music videos because music and visuals come together to create something much more dynamic than just one or the other. So it goes with still images and words. It is the combination that gives rise to something beyond the individual parts. I like New York Magazine much more than I like the New Yorker. Both have amazing writing, but with all words and no pictures, the New Yorker is just not as fun to read.
If you don’t already do this, go through images you’ve created that are connected by a single theme and select 20 of them. Imagine you’re putting together a gallery show. First, caption each image. Then write an introduction to the collection just like you would see on the wall when you enter a gallery space. Pay attention, as you choose your words, to what goes into your choices. Do you see any patterns? Are you paying attention to how your word choice will impact how your viewers will see your images?
Think about an image that, for you, has inspired a love of photography. Do you see the poetry in it?
To learn more about unique captions and intuitive photography, check out my NYC-based photography classes.