Fresh off a photography course designed to help develop / discover one’s creative side, I went on a hike with my camera and from a distance, and I spotted an interesting looking feature on an Arbutus tree. After a closer examination, I decided upon the look I wanted and set about the process of making the image. I knew some people would find it interesting and others would not care for it.
Upon posting the image for viewers of the FB photography group (open to anyone) where we had posted images while on course, the comments quickly began. I also showed the image to people I knew that were not members of the FB group, as I know FB is not the best source for constructive criticism (it should be noted, however, this group has been pretty good and I was not looking for anything special from it, I just wanted to share it with them). There were some general comments about it, but seemingly less of the vague “nice photo” type than normal. As expected, people either found it interesting or really didn’t like it. I had comments like “sorry but its ugly and have no clue what the heck it is… not good”, “It should have been taken at a different angle then. Its a picture that you just don’t want to look at!”,” Its not a pleasant or interesting photo to look at. There is no story to this, its the truth!” and “To me it resembles something evil and ugly but everyone has their own thoughts on creativity and sees art as they want. Just my thought that is all”.
Then there were those who were much more positive and supportive, such as “Not everything in nature is beautiful. It is good to photograph interesting and unusual things like this tree. It is neither ugly nor terrible. In addition, things that are not easy to look at can tell important stories. Think of photojournalism, for example.”, “Can you please tell the story behind this photograph?, its very interesting and makes me want to know more “, “very cool what can be found in nature” and “wonderful abstraction”.
One of the first comments was simply “terrible” and initially when I read that, I was slightly taken aback, however, as I thought about it I decided not to respond and to watch what would develop. Sure enough, there were a variety of comments, such as I listed above. When some of the other comments had a negative tone, I actually began to feel better. That is when it struck me that the image I made was something more than just another pretty picture that would be quickly flicked past and leave no lasting impression on anyone. It was something that moved others to feel. Something that people had passionate opinions about and came away with their own interpretations of. The more comments I read and the more I heard from others, the more I wanted to share this image. This is an image I will take the time and effort to go beyond FB and other internet sites, beyond the inside of my hard drive and off my computer screen; it will be physically printed and put on display. I also look forward to following my Creative Vision and making many more images, including ones that some may see as “terrible”.