The magic of an image

Many years ago I would look at the work of notable photographers and wonder just what it was about the image that made it so unique, special.  The marketing gurus like to call this branding or style.  That isn’t it.  Others can copy the image down to the last minute detail, the lighting, wardrobe, location, props, model and somehow they end up with only a pale imitation.

Over the years I started to become aware of something rather intangible.  It is as if the photographer… at least any photographer who is actually worthy of the title… puts a bit of himself into each image he shoots.  Not in a physical sense, it is intangible, but very real.  And it is what make the photograph what it is.  No amount of technical mastery can replace this quality.

I don’t expect this to make sense to everyone.  Even before I started to notice this, I had been featured in a large magazine spread.  While showing it to a friend she made the comment that there was a quality my images had, and that quality was me.  It took me over a decade to finally “get it” and I would say it is the most important thing a photographer can learn.  How to impart that piece of magic, of himself, into his work.

I say that as a lead in to the photos posted below.  Obviously I was there when it was taken 🙂  But it didn’t look anywhere near as magical as it does in the final image.  I believe that this photo transports the person looking at it, in his mind, to a night on a beach… away from his problems and to a place he would rather be.  And that is what I intended it to do.

Mark Stout

Silhouetted man on the beach, copyright Mark Stout

Mark Stout

Man on the beach at night, copyright Mark Stout, all rights reserved.

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