I recently went on a roadtrip to England where I managed to take some of my favourite photos ever. Having been this proud and excited of my pictures, I called my mum to ask her if she had seen them and what did she think of them:
“They are good, but you over edit them, so they don’t look as real. The sky is never as orange and the sea is never that blue… “
Her response was disappointing. However, it gave me a reason to write this post to explain to her and other people that photography is so much more than just capturing a raw image of your surroundings. It is a way of capturing that moment and showing it to the world as you see it through your eyes!
Photography as a means of self-expression
When we talk about photography, many people think of it in its raw format. You see something, you get the angle, you press the button, and there you have it! Though, nowadays, with the help of filters and editing software, we have the ability to transform these images. We can make them brighter, darker, more vibrant, more clear, add structure, sharpen them, and so on! But why do we do it and why don’t we just leave them ‘raw’?
We edit our photos in order to make them ours! Because photography is an art and it involves self-expression. It reflects our inner self and the unique way we perceive this world. It’s like a window overlooking into the photographer’s mind.
And if you think about it, if you ask 10 people to take a photo of the same thing, you would end up having 10 completely different photographs!
Your personality and emotions affect your photography
For instance, if you look at the photographs of a person that has a generally positive and passionate outlook in life, you might notice that these will seem brighter, more vibrant, and with emphasis on the colours. On the other hand, a negative person might take more abstract, negative, and darker images.
We also need to take into consideration the emotions. When a photographer takes a picture, their emotions at that very specific moment are also shown in the photograph; confidence, fear, tension, love. The psychologist Lev Vygotsky, known mostly for research into cognitive development, suggests that suggested artistic and aesthetic experiences are the result of catharsis – “the explosive response which culminates in the discharge of emotions”.
Furthermore, a general observation showed that photographers with creative minds seem to enjoy taking pictures of nature and landscapes as they always look for different scenes to stimulate their imagination. They also enjoy black and white (b&w) photography, which to many people might not seem as the most creative type of photography. Though, creative people can spot significant differences in the elements when their coloured and when they are not. At the same time, b&w allows them to give emphasis not only to objects, but to the mood of the image. As a result, they don’t only capture that moment, but also the emotions associated with it. Additionally, curious people that enjoy looking at the world from different perspectives might use macro photography a lot more (ref: here).
The psychology behind it
There are even academic papers that have studies on the correlation of personality traits and artistic preferences. Very recently, I came across an academic paper by Rawlings, who studied how different personalities seem to like different kind of paintings and photographs. His study showed that neurotic people disliked pleasant photographs. Similarly to people that suffer from depression, neurotics prefer to engage with something similar to their state of mind, something more relatable. It’s a suggestive insight into how your personality can direct your preferences and possibly your vision.
Moreover, another study also investigated personality factors and how these link with preferences on different painting styles. They demonstrated that people that are more open to different and unconventional experiences preferred emotionally positive and more complex paintings. On the other hand, those that are more neurotic preferred paintings with negative emotions.
As a result, undoubtedly, our photographs reflect who we are and what we feel. I consider myself to be creative, curious, extremely passionate, and generally positive. This is why my photographs include a variety of landscapes, angles, black and white, and intense/vibrant colours! For me, when I look at the sea, in my mind, it has that intense blue colour. And when I look at the sunset, I see that deep red. And therefore, I use my photos to make the world see them too!
I hope that you enjoyed this post. What type of a photographer are you? Let me know in the comments below!
Until next time…