Learning to See Beyond Subject

Photography is without a doubt a visual medium with a direct sensory experience absorbed primarily through eyesight. However, have you ever wondered why certain photos move something within you? An emotional response, a pause, a feeling of familiarity? It is not just mere colors dancing upon the stage of our pupils, but the photographer has consciously decided to show or highlight something. As in the overwhelming number of advertisements and subliminal messages coming through our subconscious at absorbent rates, there is communication,story, subtle connection, and at times even a suggestion for how we can live inspired lives threaded into a photographer’s photos.

As a Yoga Photographer, I see this with many of the yoga teachers I work with. One teacher may be steeped in a tradition of compassion, kundalini, alignment and another come from a strongly influenced dancing background. The photographer’s job is to open their eye gradually to what is going on underneath the exquisite drapery of the subject they are working with. What is the nature of this person? What type of energy are they putting off in this situation? What inspires and motivates them? For example, if the subject is high-energy and optimistic, as a photographer you would want to shoot up, incorporate abundant light, and a sense of expansiveness by using lots of open background space where you can allow that essence of being to permeate throughout the entire frame.

While of course the photographer is also creating a composition that speaks to the photo necessities like proper lighting, use of color and contrast, watching for blinking eyes and telling facial expressions, etc. The intuitive attention to what is happening beyond the subject’s exterior is the one central component to developing photos that carry tone and evoke a feeling from the reader.

“Learn to look closely, and allow yourself to feel”

Photo of : Michael and Stephanie Johnson, Clearlight Yoga

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