Your photos are a window into your psyche. Give them a voice !
There's a reason we create the photos we create. Something draws our attention to a subject.
Within the story we are conveying to others through our images, there is a story in there about ourselves.
If every photo captures a moment frozen in time, that moment also features you, the photographer, who is part of the experience.
You are constantly experiencing various emotions, aspirations, hopes, fears and desires. These are then mirrored or "projected" in some way small or large into the photos you choose to create at the time you press the shutter.
Selecting the Right Photo
Some photos are better suited than others for this kind of introspection, and so the first step is identifying a image to work with.
You can do this in a few different ways such as :
-- Simply scanning through some of your recent photos to find one that grabs your attention.
-- Going out with your camera and a specific intention that you would like to create a photo that will you help you learn something about yourself. As you are photographing, pay special attention to anything that seems interesting or that you feel attracted to photograph. Afterwards, review those images and select one that feels right.
-- Inviting serendipity into your process by printing around 10 to 20 4x6 photos. Shuffle them like a deck of cards and put them in a stack face down. Then select one at random.
Remember that you are not necessarily picking the most beautiful or technically perfect image, but rather one that makes you feel a strong connection or emotional response.
Once you have selected an image, the next step is to start a conversation with your photo and see what it tells you.
For this we are going to introduce a role playing technique that can be used for working with dreams.
Imagine then your photo as a kind of waking dream, where we have a number of different elements we can choose from such as people, objects, or any other component of the image that you choose.
Once you have decided the subject of the photo, you are going to interview it using these 6 magical questions.
1) What are you?
2) What is your purpose or function?
3) What do you like most about yourself?
4) What do you dislike most about yourself?
5) What do you fear the most (what is the worst thing that can happen to you)?
6) What do you desire the most ?
Then you will answer the questions in the first person as if you are that subject.
If that seems strange or confusing, consider the following example...
After looking through some recent photos, I selected this one of an old country road leading to the mountains. I decided my subject for the interview will be the road itself.
- 1) What are you?
I am an empty road
- 2) What is your purpose or function?
I connect people from one place to another
- 3) What do you like most about yourself?
I like leading people towards beauty (of the mountains beyond)
- 4) What do you dislike most about yourself?
I dislike being empty and without purpose.
- 5) What do you fear the most (or what is the worst thing that can happen to you)?
I can become run down and fall into disrepair and neglect.
- 6) What do you desire the most ?
I desire reaching the mountains, to a place of beauty, and sharing that place of beauty with others.
What does it mean?
Remember that this is a very personal exercise and there are no right or wrong answers. Ultimately you are trying to understand something about yourself, and you can decide if the answers resonate with something going on in your current life experience.
If not, you can always try another image, or even work with a different element in the image. In this case I might think about the power lines running along the road, or the mountain in the distance.
Perhaps the answers give you a clue about a feeling that you have not fully identified in yourself. Or, your responses might even provide the solution to a problem that you've been dealing with.
As with any introspection like this, keeping a journal is an excellent practice and provides you a place to write about your thoughts.
You can also integrate a daily photo journal like Aminus3.com as a way of keeping track of your image selections and experiences. Over time, you will create an archive of images and impressions for further exploration.