Pictures need Context

I love looking through images, whether it’s online, in print, in a gallery or anywhere else for that matter. But I’m often left wondering “What is it I’m not seeing?”. Perhaps this is just me but I feel that the context around the image is just as fascinating as the image itself.

Norwegian Fjord and Mounts
When I see an image of a beautiful landscape, I can appreciate it for the piece of art that it is but I also want to know all about it. Such as:

  • Where is it taken?
  • Was there a story behind getting the image?
  • Is it a special moment in the photographers life?
  • Was it just a moment of opportunity?
  • What are the technical details?
  • Are there any specific techniques involved?

I want to connect with it on a deeper level than just thinking it’s pretty and well photographed. All too often, especially online, I find fabulous work but absolutely no descriptions or context. As a result, I’m finding that these images become a consumable and once viewed, they are quickly forgotten. But the ones that are given more context tend to stick with me longer. I spend more time looking at it and appreciating what was involved with capturing it.

I know it takes time and not every image requires a description but if we don’t want our photographs, that we pour our hearts into, to become just another picture that someone saw, we need to give the viewer an opportunity to connect. And the simplest way is to write about what was going on, or what you were thinking, when we took it. It doesn’t need to be much but a little bit goes a long way and even though a picture may be worth a thousand words, a thousand words may not always be enough to fully appreciate what we’re looking at.

To that end, a category has been created on this blog called ‘1000 Words’ where people can share the story behind the image. In a world where we are being inundated with images, let’s try to make ours be a bit more memorable.

About Dov Plawsky

I am an aspiring freelance photographer and writer. I've always enjoyed the story around the picture and now want to expand upon that. I founded Beyond Your Bag to help share knowledge across like minded people and to hopefully connect those people to one another.