Diane Arbus, the documentary and portrait photographer, said “I never have taken a picture I’ve intended. They’re always better or worse.”
At first blush, this sounds a tad self-critical but it's actually a very interesting insight. Photographs (well, mine anyway) always do come out better or worse than intended. Why is this?
The camera certainly plays its part but so do our own memories and imaginations. The camera's tack sharp lenses and multi-megapixel sensors both capture details far too small for the eye to see yet at the same time distort depth, time, colors, luminosity and much more in the resulting image.Scenes that were compelling when discovered seem humdrum the next week. Funny-strange metaphors and juxtapositions mysteriously appear after staring at an image for the 20th time. Given all this, how could a photograph possibly come out as intended?
This week's photograph came out better. At first, what caught my eye was purely visual -- the silvery light reflected off the pool, the dark shapes of the rocks, and the twisted mesh of what I'm guessing is a battered lobster trap.
The more I look at this image, the more I see. I like how the reflections of the wire mesh are so perfect that it's hard to distinguish where the mesh stops and the reflection begins. It amuses me that the waterlines on the three dark rocks off to the sides look like the thin, pursed mouths of blunt-faced, eye-less, prehistoric fish. When first shot, I certainly didn't appreciate the irony of a former lobster trap now itself trapped and ignobly trapping kindred bits of flotsam.
Come to think of it, does anything in life ever come out as intended? Isn't everything always better or worse? I think Diane Arbus is on to something. ;-)