How do we know what’s beautiful? How do we decide which images are valuable ? What is the ideal way we should do it? Social media provides endless streams of images to look at and to admire. On a #LeafOnThursday there are dozens, probably hundreds of leaves coming down the stream waiting to be plussed or faved or reshared. Which of those are the ones that will stay afloat? Which are the ones that we want to go back to and keep admiring even after the stream of leaves has changed into a stream of flowers for #FloralFriday? Or will any of them survive in this struggle to be noticed and remembered?
When I browse through photos online, or my own work after a shoot in the forest, I go with my gut feeling. I don’t think about the technical details, see if the focus is sharp or not, wonder if the white balance is on the spot or not, or even bother about the ‘faults’ caused by the lens, such as flares, vignettes or other distortions.For me the image is what it is with its faults and peculiarities. To make the distinction if it is a good image or not, is purely based on the feeling the image gives me – if it’s interesting or not, if it makes my heart turn or not or if it inspires me or makes me want to go back to it. Sometimes a good photo is the kind that has a great idea behind it, it has been composed well or there is a new surprising angle to an old subject. Sometimes a good photo is the kind that makes you feel in a certain way and in those photos it does not make any difference what the subject is in the photo – the same leaf or flower can make you feel happy or sad depending on the way it is presented. For me one thing is for sure, if I’ve seen a similar picture before the image is not interesting to me. There are quite a lot of pictures circulating that seem to have been taken in very similar conditions, seems like quite a few people want to take that best long exposure shot at the beach around sunset and why not, they are always very beautiful – but at some point there is the saturation point when they simply do not surprise you or turn your heart anymore. I suppose the same is true with autumn leaves and floral macros. When there is one image that is different from the most of them, it is the one that is the most beautiful one for me. I might even fall in love with a peculiar little ‘fault’ in it, which I do not see as a fault, but instead an interesting detail that makes the photo different than the others, a unique individual.