The Timlessness of Photographs

Ever look at a magazine cover and you are immediately awestruck but after the third review the photo has lost its impact. But then, there are some photographs you see in some magazines or calendars which are always able to spur your emotions no matter how many times you see it? That is a timeless photograph.

We have seen many examples of these photographs. Dorothea Lange gave us “Migrant Mother”; Ansel Adams gave us “Moonrise, Hernandez, Mexico”; Garry Winogrand gave us some visually amazing photographs, some if which were untitled. Despite the fact that these photos were taken long ago, these photos have a quality which continues to make them worthy of admiration and review. What is this quality/qualities that make these images enduring?

Is it the monochromatic tone, the composition, the quality of light, the fresh point of view? Perhaps it is all of the above. Certainly the photographer’s excelled at those areas and in many more and provided us with a new way of seeing things. A vision which has endured for decades without fading.

In spite of the flood of photographs I see being produced by amateur and professional alike, few tend to have that timeless quality of the masters. My argument here is not that the photograph needs to be black and white or made with a medium format camera or made everyday. But, I think more photographers need to think a little more of what they are shooting when they look through the viewfinder in making a photograph which fits their vision.

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