The aesthetics and narrative

“This photo looks nice.” She pointed to the Opera House I shot this summer in Sydney. “You think so? Why you think is nice?” I liked to tease her for fun sometimes. “hm… I … I just want to go there after I saw this photo you took.” She looked at me with the deep-blue innocent eyes.

When I was learning photography earlier this year, I was always curious about what makes a photo “good”. “Makes you hold your breath and willing to spend your time to appreciate it” She once said that to me when I asked her.

“What kind of photos would do it?” She then was in thought for a moment. “Pure and true beauty. It’s not mundane at all but absolutely stunning.” She looked kind of cute when she tried to be serious. “I think I am looking at that right now.” She giggled.

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After a few month on practice, I realized a photo could be “good” if it has either an aesthetic significance or a narrative or both. For aesthetics, it is more artistic thinking. I do not know how to describe what aesthetics are but I just feel pleased and calm when I saw some art work that are genuinely beautiful like a great painting. Artists define what the beauty is and ordinary people like me just need to appreciate the beauty they have defined.

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As for narrative, it becomes a more interesting topic. Why we need photography when we already have videography which could present hundred of photos in just a few seconds? Well, just like what poets says in few words, a novelist has to write one hundred words. A poem gives us more with less. A photo is not just what is already there in the frame, but the story behind the scene. (Most street photography works deliver messages to the reader)

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However, most of the time a photo could not be simply categorized. I shot a few portraits this fall and the boundary between the aesthetics and narrative becomes vague.

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A stunning model could be your life saver. All you need to do is just to press the shutter and then ready to get attention and applause from the public because people like to see beautiful people. However,  besides beauty, the model’s eyes and expression are able to deliver a unique vibe of their own, a story about their life. Playing around the mixture of beauty and narrative is what portraiture photography fascinates me.