Don't Tell Me What You Think, Tell Me What You Feel

I just sent this picture to my good friend and former RIT professor, Dr. Dick Zakia, who is updating his book, Perception and Imaging – Photography, A New Way of Seeing. I asked Dick why he likes this picture. His response, I feel, can benefit all of us. Here goes.

Dear Rick:

I am reminded of a comment my friend Ralph Steiner would often make when critiquing work, "Don't tell me what you think. Tell me what your FEEL."

What I feel is paramount and it is a deep haunting feeling, a mysterious questioning as to what is going on. Who are these people who are deep in thought,what are they thinking? Your photograph is both haunting and mysterious.

At another level, I like the colors, the dress,the masks, the black hands, jewelry – everything works together to convey mystery and questioning. And the aging background certainly adds to the strangeness and ambiguity. Then, of course, there is the symbolism of the mask.

In a word again, it haunts me. It is also a good gestalt in that you need not add or take anything away from the photo to improve it. It is!

The story behind the picture. I was participating in a workshop in Venice during Carnavale and noticed these people standing in a square. I asked them to move against the wall and posed them in the manner you see here.

A good exercise: try to convey a feeling in a photograph.

Explore the Light,