Saturday, 29 March 2008

Reaching the audience

Rock and lobster pot, Northumberland, March 2008

There's been quite a lot recently in blogland on meaning in photography (and art for that matter) - one of those recurring themes. I particularly liked the ideas that George Barr was discussing.

This brought me back to a comment I received on one of my prints at the recent workshop I attended:

"I would spend time looking over this image and come away thinking that it wasn't really worth the effort"

I decided to take something positive and something negative from such a comment, which gets to the whole idea of meaning an meaningfulness.

The downside is that the audience isn't taking something away from my work. That is frustrating: either I'm not executing the work correctly, or my message (if any) isn't clear enough. I'm not connecting with others, despite enjoying the work myself.

The positive note is, however, that there is the notion that an audience is at least considering that my work is worth the effort. At least they are encouraged to spend time with the work even if the voyage is eventually fruitless. I think this is probably one of the most positive things that can happen - that viewers feel our work is worth putting effort in the first place and we can hope that over time (or multiple works) that they then start to take something away.

it is something like the way I approach art galleries & museums: I only maybe spend significant time with a few works but always feel rewarded for having put the effort in to find them. If my work has a similar effect on others, then it isn't in vain.

There is another aspect to all this, that I will discuss in another post.


  1. I think I would have taken a different view to that comment. ALL your images aren't going to strike a chord with everyone, it's what they provide FOR YOU on your journey that counts. This particular picture looks very considered!

  2. Colin, you've hit upon the unwritten assumption I made - that my images have personal meaning but I am trying to get a bit further.

    Your comment on this picture is also interesting. Actually it is almost a pure reaction shot: I saw the scene, grabbed the camera to my eye & fired off a couple of frames. I'm going to have to come back to this whole idea of consideration at another time.


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