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Photographing Superstition

Updated on September 6, 2013
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Everywhere you go you will find superstitious beliefs. Almost every culture in the world has at least one. Photography which intends to emphasize images that bring superstitious beliefs to the forefront takes a photographer into new levels.

You not only have to research the acts, instances, coincidences, events or items that a culture considers to be superstitious or brings bad luck. You then have to be choosy in how you will represent them in your photographs.

Granted, some are easy like a person walking under a ladder, a black cat walking in front of a person, a broken mirror and so on. But if you are to make a name for yourself doing such themes you have to think outside the box and get creative with your photography.

"Superstition is a belief in supernatural causality: that one event leads to the cause of another without any physical process linking the two events, such as astrology, omens, witchcraft, etc., that contradicts natural science.

Opposition to superstition was a central concern of the intellectuals during the 18th century Age of Enlightenment. The philosophers at that time ridiculed any belief in miracles, revelations ,magic, or the supernatural, as "superstition," and typically included as well much of Christian doctrine."Wikipedia

Again, research and make a list with detailed information as to what some considered to be a sign of bad luck. Once this is done, then your task is to locate suitable locations and subjects that will make up your shoot. Often you may even have to make your own items or props, even break a couple of things in the process.

Your images have to be clear enough in their representation if your audience is to understand what it is that they are looking at. Otherwise it may look like something else or worst; an unknown theme that can leave your audience guessing as to the purpose of the photographs besides just being an art form or an artist's interposition of elements to foster an interpretation. This is fine to do but it goes better with an abstract photography and fine art theme.

Keep in mind that along with a superstitious belief there most always is a lucky charm that protects against bad luck brought about by the possible bad luck caused by encountering something believed to be a bad luck omen. Try to build a theme for the photographs instead of just shooting images at random.

A good technique to follow is to record an image that tells about a superstition in a regular format and then shoot a photo of the lucky charm in a close up mode.

Afterwards you can build a story around the photographs and submit them to any publication which may be interested in a complete package. Editors are more inclined to purchase the rights to use your work if they photos are accompanied by a good solid article since it make their job that much easier.

So not only do you have to pay close attention to your photography but you also have to be very thorough with your written material as well.

That means that the article has to address every photo individually and the bad luck that it can bring but it must also show a connection as to how each charm is used to ward off the effects of the superstitious belief.

© 2012 Luis E Gonzalez


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    • LuisEGonzalez profile image

      Luis E Gonzalez 4 years ago from Miami, Florida

      Just_Rodney: Thank you

    • Just_Rodney profile image

      Rodney Fagan 4 years ago from Johannesberg South Africa, The Gold Mine City

      The problem is to capture a photograph of someone who believes that in being photographed, steals their soul! The early America

      Indians, tribes in Bernio, Africa to name but a few.

      On the lighter you can also add that any "law breaker", would have the same fear, as his physical capture is more at risk!

    • LuisEGonzalez profile image

      Luis E Gonzalez 5 years ago from Miami, Florida

      peachpurple: Thank you, interesting to know.

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 5 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      Asian Chinese and malays are more superstitious due to religious beliefs brought down from generations. Some of these are just hoax just to scare young people to behave well. Great hub