Create (daily): Beauty vs Story (or Pattern vs Content)

Daniel SiggCreate (Daily)Leave a Comment

Photographic film - Black and white

At the moment, I am doing these daily dispatches as a way to put down some thoughts on “paper”.

About photography.

About the creative process.

Looking at my images, and reviewing some of Jay Maisel’s work in particular (there will be a future podcast on that!), I realize that a lot of my images are about beauty, including beautiful patterns. Should they be about story? So is it about beauty versus story or pattern versus content?

Now I also realize that my images often do not have people in them. I think the story might be more obvious with photographs that have people in them or so it seems.

I think this is the wrong question to ask. Yes, storytelling is important. I will discuss this topic in an upcoming podcast episode with Ted Vieira (check out my podcast here). But is it the only thing in photography? No! It’s important, but not the only thing.

Did Mondrian have a story in his art? Or Rothko? Yeah, maybe, but it may not be as obvious.

Below is an example that I would consider a beauty / pattern focused image.

Below is an example that is about story/content.

street photography Basel beer bottle leica m3 kodak tmax 100

Below an example that might be about both: pattern, but perhaps a story.

Blog_June_35mm Roll 49 Kodak Portra 400 Nikon FE_10

So which image do you like best?

Is it about story? Is it about beauty? Is it about both?

I think those are the wrong questions to ask. It is good to think about those things, but also to not overthink. I tend to overthink. A lot.

But when I go out and photograph, lately, I just go with the flow. I photograph what I see. Like this.

urban camper 35mm Ilford Delta Daniel Sigg alley Saint Paul

It says urban camper. (I actually only saw this after the fact). But I love this image. I love the tones. I love the weird contraption with ice, the tubes going in and out, the graffiti, the bricks. The image has some sort of a weird story. It is probably street photography as it smells like street.

So, bottomline:

Photograph from your heart, photograph what you love, what catches your eye, what you are passionate about.

Not sure if this makes sense, but somehow it makes sense to me.


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