John Loengard – what is a photograph?

Today, at, John Loengard posted for Guest Blog Wednesday.

(who is John Loengard – check out this post by Joe McNally who works for/with him)

Some amazingly beautiful images. I loved the portraits of Georgia O’Keeffe. Check them out.  She was so stunningly graphic as a person – simply in the way she dressed and carried herself. Of course it doesn’t hurt that she was photographed by some of the best photographers of the age.

The following are quotes from his article that honestly and clearly define what it means to make a photograph.

It is not important if photographs are “good.” It’s important that they are interesting. What makes a photograph interesting? I’ll count the ways: It can be our first look at something. It can be entertaining. It can evoke deep emotions. It can be amusing or thrilling or intriguing. It can be proof of something. It can jog memories or raise questions. It can be beautiful. It can convey authority. Most often, it informs. And, it can surprise.

Before I became a picture editor, I assumed that “good photographers” took “good pictures” because they had a special eye. What I found was that good photographers take good pictures because they take great pains to have good subjects in front of their cameras. (Reflect a moment on what cameras do, and this makes sense.) Good photographers anticipate their pictures.

This quote reminds of something Jerry Garns, the first photoographer I worked for told me: ‘If you want to take good looking pictures of people, take pictures of good looking people’.  I’ve always remembered that.

No photographer can go out today and take a photograph that sums up the Obama Administration. Photographs don’t generalize. But a detail, when photographed, often conveys a sense of a whole. A finger, the man. A leaf, the tree. A curbstone, the city.

Read the full article here.

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