Scotland, 2013

Glamis Castle

Robert Capa supposedly said, “If your pictures aren’t strong enough, you’re not close enough.” While the phrase might have reached cliche status through repetition, it is still no less true. Most photographs suffer from too much information. (I know you were anxious to have my opinion on that.)

Plein air painting and street photography have some things in common–leaving the comfort and control of a studio, and focusing on ordinary, pedestrian subjects, but there is one fundamental, foundational difference, and I’m making no argument for either being superior, just different. Painting is additive. One starts with blank paper or canvas or …, and adds elements to build the composition.

Photography is subtractive. One starts with a given scene or situation and has to find ways to eliminate everything non-essential in that scene. A big first step (pardon the pun) is to get closer.

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  1. Mary Whisonant

    Marvelous image!