the Season - Spring
There are photographs that are subtle and those that are not. The picture
we've chosen to represent the theme of Spring is one that is not subtle.
How does this tender image by NYI Student Stephanie Adkins communicate
its story to the viewer? Let's examine it by considering NYI's Three
Guidelines for Better Photos.
Guideline One: Know in advance what you want to be the subject
of the photograph.
The obvious subject of this photo is two young girls in a sunlit field
awash with flowers, conversing under a parasol that casts a nice, even
light across the girls' faces.
On one level this is a fine portrait of the two girls. Whether they're
sisters or just good friends isn't clear, but we know that the parents
of these two tykes would love this professional-looking portrait. In
fact, our business sense tingles with the possibility of selling large,
matted and framed enlargements of this photo to parents and grandparents
alike. It's a beautiful image.
But there is a deeper subject here as well. While every good photograph
has a subject, really great photos often suggest a universal theme or
message, and that's what we feel here.
To our eye, this is more than a portrait of two girls. It doesn't
matter that we don't know these children or the location of this flower-strewn
field. The photo conveys a freshness and youthful vigor that we associate
with the universal theme of spring.
Before we examine the elements that suggest this theme, let's factor
in the other two NYI Guidelines.
Guideline Two: Organize the picture and use techniques that give
emphasis to your subject.
Here, Stephanie has emphasized the two girls by making them large, placing
them up front, framing them with the parasol, and surrounding them with
elements (flowers) that don't distract attention from them.
In other words, get rid of any elements in the picture that will distract
attention from the subject. In this picture, Stephanie has done that.
There's nothing we see that distracts our eye from the subject. The
girls are seen against a uniform field of yellow flowers. We don't see
any weeds or other objects, just flowers.
Now, let's get back to the idea of a universal theme. This picture
is filled with the icons of spring - spring flowers, a parasol that suggests spring showers, and two young girls sharing a light
moment in the springtime of their lives.
There's one other thing to note here. The two girls are looking at each
other, not at the camera. We think this strengthens the picture because
it shows a relationship between them. As we have said elsewhere,
the key to any portraits of more than one person is to show a relationship
among them. Stephanie has done that here. Because they are not looking
at the camera, we can see this as a candid glimpse of a carefree, flower-filled
world that's bursting with new growth.
This is a fine photograph for the spring season, implying a sense of
youth, beauty, renewal, and possibility.