The "Oooh" and "Ahhh" of Photography
Art appeals on two seemingly contradictory planes: it must stimulate enough to attract, yet soothe enough to sustain. These are art’s “oooh” and “ahhh” factors. You probably understand the “oooh!” that grabs your attention and draws you from across the room, but once that initial jolt has faded, it’s the soothing “ahhh…” that holds you, and keeps you coming back. We each have our own oooh and ahhh triggers. Some are touched by an intimate flower portrait, others find inspiration in a sweeping landscape; some seek connection to a familiar place, others long for vicarious exploration.
The way we enjoy art is as personal as the art itself. I enjoy browsing other photographers’ online galleries, but I much prefer the intimacy of paging leisurely through a glossy, hardcover photography book. Art shows are fun, but a little frenetic. Galleries can be nice, albeit often somewhat pretentious. For me, nothing beats hanging a special piece on my wall.
I can’t pretend to know what inspires your oooh’s and ahhh’s, nor can I let those thoughts influence my photographic choices. Before clicking your shutter, spend a little time with the composition. Picture it framed large on a wall and ask yourself if its virtual world has the potential to supersede your literal world, even briefly. Do the emotions it generates rejuvenate or deplete your energy? My own, private answers to those questions determine the things I photograph and the way I photograph them.
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Eight to ten times each year I conduct photography workshops where I share my favorite locations, and my photographic insights, with passionate photographers like you. Join me in one (or more) of my upcoming photo workshops in Yosemite, Maui, Hawaii’s Big Island, Death Valley, and California’s Eastern Sierra.
On my Eloquent Nature blog you'll find many of my favorite images, the story of their capture, and lots of photography tips and insights.
Sunrise, Puna Coast, Hawaii ©Gary Hart