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Subjective Photography

Updated on July 8, 2014
LuisEGonzalez profile image

I enjoy photography and have been doing so professionally and independently for over 30 years.

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Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0 | Source

In essence the definition of subjective photography and by its own definition , this style of photography is more art than any other style; "Interpretive image of the subject, with results influenced by the attitude of the photographer"

With subjective photography the author, ie. the photographer, becomes an artist bent on capturing images that represent an idea, a feeling, an emotion, a message etc.The viewers see an image meant to stand for something else.

The photographer's creativity and imagination are the keys more than any piece of equipment , technique or much of anything else. As a photographer one must carefully choose which images will represent what ideals.

If you wanted to show an image of royalty, of an empire, maybe even a country for example you may use a photo of a lion. If you perhaps want to capture photographs that stand for fear, then maybe some shadows will do the trick. Want to show diligence and work ethics, then a photograph of a bee will be just the ticket.

Keep your mind open, sometimes you do not have to take a photo of a life subject. For royalty, often images of statues will work just as well as an image of a real life lion.

Over thousands of years people have infused every conceivable object that we have encountered with a symbolic meaning. This theme is no different. Your intent as a photographer is to photograph subjects that become distinguishable as they stand for other subjects, simple ideal yet very difficult to achieve

The best method is to research the meanings of your chosen ideals and try to match them with synonyms. Your friends, relatives and others can often be a good starting source of information.

Lets say for example you wanted to capture images that stand for love. Think of what are some things that when looked at will relay the idea of love, like a mother tenderly embracing her child or two little kids innocently kissing or hugging.

If you wanted to take photographs that would show someone not giving up , you may record a photo of someone struggling to climb a mountain, even though the subject seems to be tired, ragged in appearance yet continuing upwards. Want to show the essence of what a workaholic is? Then like mentioned before, a photo of a busy bee will be just fine.

As far as what equipment to use, there is really no set pattern. Use the gear that best fits the moment. Filters that soften the scene, even alter the color tones, use of flash or lack of it may also be useful.

Everything depends on the mood that you want to set and studying how light works and how people interpret different angles, perspectives and light are all key issues that you must take into consideration before you start on your photographic adventure.

As you look at the photos within this article think closely about what each photo signifies; what is the intention of the photographer when the photograph was taken, what is the message behind each and use them as a learning tool.

(CC BY-SA 2.0)
(CC BY-SA 2.0) | Source
(CC BY-SA 3.0)
(CC BY-SA 3.0) | Source

© 2012 Luis E Gonzalez


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    • LuisEGonzalez profile image

      Luis E Gonzalez 5 years ago from Miami, Florida

      alancaster149: Thank you and a very happy new years to you too.

    • alancaster149 profile image

      Alan R Lancaster 5 years ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

      Hello Luis, had a good Christmas?

      Interesting piece, this. Just a shame the pictures are on ration! The lion's pretty realistic, what are the Royals? (Just goes to show the link with GB is still there, somewhere).

      I like the one of the climber, with the mountain chain behind. The only caption I can think of is: "'Ey, 'ang abaht (Hey, hang about) - I've run aht o' rope!"

      Have a terrific New Year!