Remember back in the day when people would want to show you slides from their vacations? Alright, so maybe I’m not that old but I have definitely been forced to sit through rolls of awful developed images with full of landscapes, with pictures and pictures of rocks and trees, a few buildings and inevitably the backside of the picture-taker’s thumb.
I remember always wondering why people would take so many pictures like this? Why aren’t there any people in these pictures? Where are the smiles and memories?
It’s funny how things change. Now, some of these person-less photos are some of my very favorites that come back after working on a wedding or an editorial piece. There’s an art and emotion that can be felt through this imagery. It’s like I can envision myself there without others in the picture to distract me. I’m instantly transported back to that time and place.
You may remember this post awhile back when I grumbled about the wedding guest who thought it was ridiculous that we’d want untouched reception photos. I’ve suddenly been able to jump in his shoes, channeling back to that time when I too thought “empty” snapshots were pointless.
While I can hardly compare some of the fine art produced by my photography friends on the same level as that of a disposable camera, I think the thought behind it was the same. There’s something special, something beautiful happening in front of them and they want to remember it forever. Those scenes deserved to be remembered always, whether they’re of a bride and groom, a flower girl twirling or simply the mountainside where the day of your dreams took place.
Photography: Heather Payne Photography
The above photo is from 2014, almost exactly two years ago in the mountains of North Carolina. I have oodles of flower pictures from that workshop, I have pictures with friends that I made that day. But this image always comes back to my mind. It instantly transports me back to that time and place.
Photography: Bradley James Photography
And this one. A simple piece of driftwood. I posted it on my Facebook page and had the most engagement that I’ve ever had for a non-floral picture. It seems relatively simple, nothing overly special about it – it just made me happy. I thought about the beach, what it would be like to walk there after a long cold winter. I thought about the first time I met Hallie (who’s wedding pictures it was a part of) and the day that we went on a sightseeing adventure when the weather finally began to thaw last April.
Photography: Ashley Slater Photography
Or this one. I certainly don’t love feet, but this image compels me.
I don’t know why these pictures are so powerful, why sometimes they can express more for me than I could even put into words. But I know they’re an important piece of the story. I know this world would be lost with only portrait photography. And there’s a reason beyond my understanding as to why when I’m playing with my own camera, I take picture after picture of my back yard – without a soul in sight or a real purpose behind it. There’s a story there – it’s just waiting to be written.