Interesting - Doug Johnson

Every now and then, the question "Why are photographs interesting?" pops into my head. Inevitably, a mob of increasingly muddled questions pile on -- questions like "Why is something interesting to most people but not me?" and "What makes anything interesting (or not)?" Eventually I remember that sweeping questions like these are better left to philosophers and move on to something more practical. ;-)

For example, figuring out why a particular photograph is interesting can be fun. Some of the possibilities are obvious: things we've never seen before are often interesting, as are things that are scary, funny, beautiful or heartbreaking. Less obvious are the myriad factors that depend on personal experience or context (both of which can and do change over time).

A case in point is this week's POTW from a pre-dawn workshop on a Cape Cod beach in 2012. At the time, I thought this photo was OK but not particularly interesting, so I forgot about it.


I recently rediscovered this photo while looking through old work for images to submit to a show themed "Seven Seas." Seeing this photo with fresh eyes and within the context of the show's theme, I now find it much more interesting. It's mysterious -- where is the guy and what is he doing? It's ominous -- he's standing on a very small spit of sand surrounded by a very large ocean and a menacing sky. It's beautiful -- the ocean hues: blue in the foreground, gray in the background, and white waves highlighting the dark sand; all make for a pleasing color palette. It's even got a couple of surprises for the close observer -- the pinpoint of light on the photographer's camera and the small wave lapping his feet and tripod!

Fortunately, the juror also thought this image was interesting -- enough so to include it in the show! If you would like to see the whole "Seven Seas" show, here's the link.

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