As mentioned in the previous article, photography is both abstract art as well as an exact science. Here in this article, I’ll explore more into the artistic side of photography, and how to include all five human senses into the image.
Human beings, as we all know, have five senses… Well, six if you include ESP, but that’s not what we want to discuss here. So we’ll just stick to the five known, and well-established human senses.
The senses consist or sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch. Sadly, many people associate a photo with only the sense of sight… In that you can only “see” the image printed on a photo, or displayed on the monitor. They tend to ignore the other four senses, or even to the extend of not knowing that they even existed at all in that image.
Let’s take an example – an image of a beach holiday resort. Well? What does a beach holiday resort consist of?… Sand, sea, the occasional beach chalet, and perhaps some holiday makers as well. THAT is what you can physically “see”. But there are other elements there that are conveniently ignored. And these elements are what makes a good image great.
A great image is one that can instill the other four human senses that comes with the image itself. A great image of a beach holiday resort is one that can let the viewer “feel” the soft powdery sand flowing between his or her bare-footed toes. One that can let the viewer “taste” the salty air as the breeze brushes his or her bare skin. One that can let the viewer “hear” the waves as it gently washes to the shore. One that can let the viewer “smell” the fishy aroma from the barbecue pit in the next chalet. One that can let the viewer “hear” the bristling coconut fronds as they brush against one another in the sea breeze. One that can let the viewer “feel” the warmth on the skin from the setting sun. One that can let the viewer “hear” the cawing of the seagulls as they fly nearby.
In short, after the viewer has seen the image, he or she can shut their eyes, and imagine that they’re right there… Living in the image that you had just presented to them.
That works for landscapes… But what about still-life?…
Well, the same concept can be applied to it as well. Just take for example, an image of hot coffee in a mug. Well, you can “see” the mug, the froth, and probably the steam emerging from the hot coffee. So what makes it a good image?
A great image is one that can let the viewer take a long and deep sniff, and then go “Ahhh…” allowing them to savour the aromatic brew of dark roasted Columbian highland beans. In addition to being able to “smell” the aroma, the viewer can also “taste” the rich and creamy froth forming the milk-mustache as he or she takes the mug to their mouth. It is also one that can let the viewer “feel” that the coffee is piping hot, fresh out of the coffee maker. It would also help if you sprinkle some roasted whole coffee beans around the mug, to reinforce the notion of the coffee being brewed from freshly ground beans.
The sky is the limit, when it comes to playing with the imagination. So to answer the question above, a good image is one that you can see, but a great image is one that you can not only “see”, but also “hear”, “smell”, “taste” and “touch” as well.