Stories Behind Photos: How much do you want to know?

How much do you want to know about a photo? The whole story? Enough information to understand the image on a small level, but leaving some curiosity? Nothing at all so you can enjoy it for yourself?

This is something I think about. I am not necessarily in one mindset over the other, because I see the benefit of sharing information but also understand the need to let people form their own opinions. I do know I often won’t read super long posts and over the top descriptions of images. Yet, it seems lately people respond to my images more if there is at least some context included. Some story. Some information. Some way to connect us and make us feel something.

So how much do you want to know? Do you want to know more about the people who trust me to be in their space with my camera(s)? Does a little story or background help make the image stronger? Does it help you/any of us connect more?

Maybe it doesn’t really matter. I know sometimes we want images to speak for themselves, but I personally love to know the stories about a photo subject, even if it’s just a little snippet of information. Photos do connect us, and stories can make that connection even stronger.

Spry.

Spry.

Here’s an image I like because I know the subject and it shows me things about her that I know or have observed in the roughly 7 years we have known each other. But if you don’t know her, you may or may not like the image, and it may be for different reasons. If you know her, you may react as some of my pals have liking the photo of this person you know and enjoy.

I photograph Spry sitting on the bench between roller derby jams often. I gravitate to her during game time when I am there with my camera. It may be because we are friends, but it may also be because sometimes she is sitting in just the right spot, or because her face is expressive/animated when she is sitting with her team mates. Maybe it’s the Maine tattoo on her shoulder, or the way the MRD logo stands out when not covered by a ponytail or long hair. Maybe it’s because I know one of these will work out and will give me an image I like.

And when I look at this one I also see that hand gesture and head tilt - a very human moment. How much more do you want to know? Because I also want to point out when I see that hand gesture I chuckle a little because of that crooked pinky from that time she broke it all these years ago, I believe from a mechanical bull riding accident. But maybe that’s her story to share and not mine.

Did I tell you too much?

Or do you still want to know more?

{365} Photo Project 2019: January

So, here we are, one month into 2019 and a few days into a winter cold snap. It’s not “Minnesota cold” here in Maine, but it’s cold enough for my car to have issues and my furnace to remind us we are on borrowed time. Nonetheless, my camera and I persisted.

2017 was the year of the 52 week photo challenge (which turned into more of a ‘Sundays with my camera’), and 2018 I was challenged to a photo a day project, aka a 365 photo challenge. These things have been so helpful in getting me back to shooting the kind of work I love, and making time to document every day life. So, as 2018 ended I didn’t feel like stopping and have continued on with a 365 photo project for 2019. This year I am also working on getting back to blogging after a hiatus. Thankfully I have this project for extra subject matter!

{1/365} Fresh New Year. I like it.

{1/365} Fresh New Year. I like it.

{2/365} Reminder to look up sometimes. There’s lots of pretty stuff when you do that.

{2/365} Reminder to look up sometimes. There’s lots of pretty stuff when you do that.

{3/365} When my neighbor appears with the snowblower I go and grab my camera. :)

{3/365} When my neighbor appears with the snowblower I go and grab my camera. :)

{4/365} On this day I needed to get out of the house. I drove around looking for something to photograph. I remember feeling kind of meh and not focused. But in this moment that all went away, I knew I got my shot, and headed back to my car feeling good about how the day unfolded. Photography is funny that way.

{4/365} On this day I needed to get out of the house. I drove around looking for something to photograph. I remember feeling kind of meh and not focused. But in this moment that all went away, I knew I got my shot, and headed back to my car feeling good about how the day unfolded. Photography is funny that way.

{5/365} Maggie at the Big Ass Rooster show | Salvage BBQ | Portland, Maine. Her dad was joining the band this night.

{5/365} Maggie at the Big Ass Rooster show | Salvage BBQ | Portland, Maine. Her dad was joining the band this night.

{6/265} Hangtime with the niece and my mom.

{6/265} Hangtime with the niece and my mom.

{7/365} I’ll have what he’s having.

{7/365} I’ll have what he’s having.

{8/365}

{8/365}

{9/365} I adulted well on this day - I went to the dentist for the first time in a long time. Found this in the parking lot.

{9/365} I adulted well on this day - I went to the dentist for the first time in a long time. Found this in the parking lot.

This is how my January unfolded. Winter in Maine sometimes keeps us inside or a little isolated at times. So on some days I leave the house to chase light, eat a meal with a friend, run errands, play games with the niece, go to the movies with the neph, go to the dentist, to watch roller derby, or head to NYC for a quick one night trip. My camera comes with me for almost all of it, with the exception of the days when I know I got what I needed and it’s ok to head out without it (and give my shoulders a break).

{10/365} NYC. She was singing as I walked down the street, so my camera wanted to capture her.

{10/365} NYC. She was singing as I walked down the street, so my camera wanted to capture her.

{11/365} Last night we celebrated Sarah, so it was a rough morning for some.

{11/365} Last night we celebrated Sarah, so it was a rough morning for some.

{12/365}

{12/365}

{13/365}

{13/365}

Some days I get to sit and watch for repeated behaviors, which is what i did on this day watching these first graders put their hands in the air and wave them like they just don’t care. Except they do care. They care about getting that basketball and scoring. Over and over again they would all be under the basket with their arms up, sometimes with their eyes closed. It was kind of funny.

{14/365}

{14/365}

{15/365} Trivia and GIF lessons.

{15/365} Trivia and GIF lessons.

{16/365}

{16/365}

{17/365} Icy sidewalk at the end of the day.

{17/365} Icy sidewalk at the end of the day.

{18/365}

{18/365}

{19/365} Women’s March, Portland Maine.

{19/365} Women’s March, Portland Maine.

{20/365}

{20/365}

{21/365} After Mary Poppins. He’s so good at standing in the right light and waiting for me… :D

{21/365} After Mary Poppins. He’s so good at standing in the right light and waiting for me… :D

{22/365} Through my windshield.

{22/365} Through my windshield.

I’m trying not to put too much pressure on myself as I do this for a second year in a row. I know a lot of us creatives will do that - set ourselves up to not succeed because we actually want to improve. Then life throws a curveball and maybe things don’t stay on course. I have some goals but also have an understanding of how hard it is to be 100% all day every day. I want to make sure I get as many people in my project as I can, I want my shooting and my editing to improve as I go along, and I want to take risks and try new things when the moments call for it. But other days I want to make sure I stay focused on the project and keep moving forward. I feel strongly that working on something EVERY DAY only makes you better, even if it takes some time to see any improvements. So, doing a 365 photo project is another way of committing to your craft and working to be better.

{23/365} The hubs made those metal elephants, the painting on the wall, and the furniture all of these items are sitting on.

{23/365} The hubs made those metal elephants, the painting on the wall, and the furniture all of these items are sitting on.

{24/365} Brunching with one of my photog & 365 pals.

{24/365} Brunching with one of my photog & 365 pals.

{25/365} Derby pal who spends time in this coffee shop drawing every day before work.

{25/365} Derby pal who spends time in this coffee shop drawing every day before work.

{26/365} Tenacity.

{26/365} Tenacity.

{27/365} There’s a new gym in town and they are pretty cool.

{27/365} There’s a new gym in town and they are pretty cool.

{28/365} Playing with an old lens at the beach on a cold day.

{28/365} Playing with an old lens at the beach on a cold day.

{29/365} #everydaylife except I drive a small car so don’t have to do this very often.

{29/365} #everydaylife except I drive a small car so don’t have to do this very often.

{30/365} Nella my neighbor playing in the snow while my car battery gets charged in the background. :D

{30/365} Nella my neighbor playing in the snow while my car battery gets charged in the background. :D

{31/365} The niece and my mom. Aren’t they cute toghether?

{31/365} The niece and my mom. Aren’t they cute toghether?

There we go! Ended the month on a good note — photo shoot in the cold (my camera and fingers weren’t super happy) then warmed up by the fire with these two playing apple to apples until the sun was gone. Now we are moving on to February!

And another photo shoot in the cold…

Stay Warm! xo ~ jb