Light, shape & tone

Some photos are taken because of the quality of the light and simplistic forms presented in them. They have no other reason to 'be' except that they are pleasing.

I say this because this photo of the beach at Solas in North Uist doesn't really have any specific land mass. No famous mountain range, no definable point of interest. I often feel we go looking for that shot of the Buchalle Etive Mhor, or a picture of the Cuillin range at Elgol because it's an obvious marker. But what about things that are just beautiful for just existing. Dave, one of my workshop participants in April was telling me that David Ward calls it the 'anonymous landscape'.

I find this an interesting topic because I feel that a lot of new photographers and especially people who don't photograph, feel that a photo should have a 'reason' for existing.

For example, I made a photograph of some ice bergs in Iceland and presented it as a gift to one of my oldest friends for his 40th. He told me that he loved the shot but was surprised by visitors reactions to it. He said that some of them were perplexed and often asked 'but why a picture of ice?'. It's as if some people don't understand a photograph unless it has some context for them. Pictures of Aunty Ethel are self explanatory, as too are pictures of an event like a friends birthday. But pictures of floating ice in a lagoon, have no meaning for some people.

I think as photographers, we have to please ourselves first and foremost. If we find beauty in something abstract, then we make a photo of it. I did this at Solas. I loved the textures in the sky and sea at the time and tried to come up with a simplistic composition to let them breathe.