Is It More Than a Picture?

This week, we’ll take a look at an artistic discipline that our students use, that we use to document our students, and that you probably use more frequently than you even realize, whether with a professional camera or on your phone: Photography. What makes photography so special?

Photography is a unique and accurate way to catch somebody’s emotional expressions, which very often reflect certain traits of the individual’s personality. When a photographer takes a portrait, he or she thinks about the ways a person’s characteristics can be best displayed. Of course, it takes practice and education, but the final product is priceless.

Photo by Carrie Rosales, Urban Gateways Measurement & Documentation Manager

Another very important rule in successful photography is to capture your subject in action while they do what they love and act naturally. Posing can also be a good approach but only in special cases, because it will not reflect true emotions as accurately as taking a photo spontaneously. When a group of people is posing for a photo it’s hard to detect each distinctive personality because everyone is posing with a similar standard expression. The most unique and memorable photos in history were taken unintentionally and unexpectedly.

(TIP for posed photography (portraiture): The most popular technique in photography is to imagine yourself in a picture and an activity you would do, then try to visualize what position you would take, what emotions to display, what kind of clothing you would wear, and the main theme of what you are trying to convey. You can direct your own photo subjects using this helpful hint!)

It is essential to keep in mind that a great photo is conveying an idea and not just capturing people or objects. In addition, basic factors such as light, color, background, black and white usage help to craft the uniqueness of a photograph. Light or dark shadows and lights help to bring out the idea of a picture and eliminate the details that are not important. Also, it facilitates the right attitude and mood of a photograph. Paying close attention to background elements is essential in enhancing the theme and implication to a viewer to unfold the story in their eyes and minds. Applying these features to highlight the story comes naturally to some people, but for others photography classes are extremely beneficial to develop this skill. We can educate our kids about photography as an art form – especially given the abundance of camera phones!

Check this out: Students at Hernadez Middle School in Albany Park photographed their surroundings with the help of teaching artist Oli Rodriguez. TELL US – how do these photographs speak to the principles we talked about above?

Inspired by:–photo-9618