The challenge of expressing the personal in our photography


Completely Counter-dependent
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Dec 11, 2006
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Mid-Atlantic US
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I think for those of us amateurs, photography is a way to preserve and show others what we think is admirable, beautiful, interesting or treasured. Since what we take pictures of is always a personal judgement, there is always a balancing act to be able to tap into that part of what we see that is universal experiences, feelings and emotions.
If what we show is too much of the personal and embedded within ourselves, others may not appreciate or understand it.
The clearest example are baby pictures, a treasure to the relatives but just another red, wrinkled kid to most of the rest of us.

I go back through hundreds of my travel pictures and they all are meaningful to me because they are the entree to a whole host of memories and sensations, yet a great majority of them are probably meaningless to most viewers.

We all have pictures like that, that we as individuals love but that don't have enough of the universals in them to appeal to people without the same experiences.

For example, I love this picture. It brings back memories of my first day in Cambodia, the dusty street, the smell of the dust in the air and the pleasant little dogs roaming around, sitting wherever they wanted. That Cambodia is fast disappearing, if not already gone in the influx of people to the tourist centers.
This was in the back street of Siem Reap, Cambodia, the town adjacent to the Temples at Angkor


I have lots of more typical tourist pictures of the 'sights', but none that make me remember what Cambodia was like as much as that one above.



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