Looking at some of my photos several years ago, a friend commented that there were no people in any of my pics. It’s true that I’ve taken care with landscapes and some city scenes to avoid having people muck up whatever it was I wanted to convey with the images, but his comment set me thinking that I must have some photos with people in the scenes.
Sorting through my folders, I found that, indeed, there were many photos I’ve taken with people either in the scene or as the main focus of the scene.
That brings me to this vintage-style tintype app image I took this week of the wooden rocker on my Mother’s back porch in Texas. This image suggests, perhaps, different emotions to different people. It also is void of people, or at least a person sitting in the rocker. But is it really void of the human essence?
What is required of us as viewers of photos is more that a cursory glance of the images. We should take time to set our imaginations in motion with any given scene, people or no people. For example, there might be questions about how the rocker came to be there in the first place, who was it intended for, who actually - if anyone - sits in it, what is the scene before and behind the rocker that any one person sitting there would see.
Again: We have become so accustomed to letting technology think for us that we don’t exercise our brains to do just that. We have allowed technology to define our lives and the images before us, rather than create stories from our imaginations to define the images beyond the given.
Sometimes people are present in a scene without them being visibly present in the photo. When watching movies, there is the concept of “suspension of disbelief.” That same concept can also apply to photography, regardless of the obvious.