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DPChallenge Forums >> Tips, Tricks, and Q&A >> "Emotion"
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10/10/2006 07:58:48 PM · #1
I'm taking a photography course right now and my professor tells me I need to have "more emotion" in my pictures but of course she didn't give me any ideas on how to go about adding it. She said the pictures I turned in last time are "surface pictures". Anyone have any ideas? Thanks in advance.

Oh yeah, and if it helps to know what we're doing....we're doing street/voyerism/documentary shots right now.

Message edited by author 2006-10-10 20:00:45.
10/10/2006 08:00:39 PM · #2
You should've just broke down crying uncontrollably. ;-)
10/10/2006 08:00:50 PM · #3
Human faces? Dynamic people shots?
10/10/2006 08:02:35 PM · #4
Here's a good place to see examples: //www.dpchallenge.com/photo_gallery.php?GALLERY_ID=12

Message edited by author 2006-10-10 20:02:46.
10/10/2006 08:04:10 PM · #5
...also, post an example or two (linked if no portfolio) from the topic you mentioned and get some feedback here on specifics.
10/10/2006 08:04:44 PM · #6
Originally posted by Art Roflmao:

You should've just broke down crying uncontrollably. ;-)

aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahahha
10/10/2006 08:07:16 PM · #7
They're not digital. They're plain ole' dark room prints so I don't have them online. I am looking at that link too - most of those look set up to me.
10/10/2006 09:52:04 PM · #8
While there are lots of very skilled photographers here, I find them mostly unsophisticated about expressing what makes a photo worth shooting. To put it another way, most people here cannot discuss aesthetics, even people who can create aesthetic photos. When your teacher asks for emotion in your picture, she doesn't mean you should take a picture of emotion. The emotion must be created by your picture for the viewer of your picture. Any picture with art in it is emotional (just as any picture with ' . substr('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21.gif', strrpos('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21.gif', '/') + 1) . ' Art Roflmao in it is emotional). You can look at a Japanese pen & ink drawing of a bamboo shoot and weep. Obviously, there is something mysterious about this process, but it is possible to talk about it, even though you can never resolve it. It is even possible to talk about ways someone might achieve it. I was just today considering a tutorial on "staged photographs" which would address the aesthetics, not the technicals. After all, how can you know what techniques to use if you don't know why you're taking the picture in the first place?
10/10/2006 10:32:41 PM · #9
Originally posted by Art Roflmao:

You should've just broke down crying uncontrollably. ;-)


Art seems to be mellowing in his old age. In other times, I'm sure he would have suggested something about rage, pitchforks and fire... ;-)
10/10/2006 10:40:19 PM · #10
Originally posted by emberstl:

I'm taking a photography course right now and my professor tells me I need to have "more emotion" in my pictures but of course she didn't give me any ideas on how to go about adding it. She said the pictures I turned in last time are "surface pictures". Anyone have any ideas? Thanks in advance.

Oh yeah, and if it helps to know what we're doing....we're doing street/voyerism/documentary shots right now.


Should ask your professor to explain. If she can't, then she's just tossing out some meaningless phrase to sound smart. Teachers aren't there to make you guess. If they want something from you, you have the right to get it in clear terms.

edit: I would add, there is adding emotion to your photo and there is using your photo to invoke an emotional response. The latter is not that hard to do - browse the Emotive gallery on this site. Wistfully staring out a window, solitary person staring out at some large landscape, etc. It's like chumming the emotional waters. Original? No. Guaranteed to get a response out of the average viewer, sure.

Message edited by author 2006-10-10 22:44:06.
10/11/2006 12:33:37 AM · #11
I guess I may have to settle for some of those un-original ones. Personally, I'd rather be original and invoke less emotion than be boring and invoke more emotion but I'm not the one grading them. Over the next 2 days I need to take 2 rolls (36ex) of the street or documentary pictures. I haven't yet decided where I'll go or what I'll take them of. Obviously, none of them will be set-ups so I am having a hard time seeing how I can produce an emotional response. Anyway, thanks for your insights.
10/12/2006 12:27:25 PM · #12
If you're doing street photography, consider looking at photos by master street photographers, in particular, say, Henri Cartier-Bresson. Also read //en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Street_photography .

With street photography, "emotional" photographs usually do involve an outright display of emotion. A famous example:
' . substr('//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/d/d1/Vj_day_kiss.jpg/250px-Vj_day_kiss.jpg', strrpos('//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/d/d1/Vj_day_kiss.jpg/250px-Vj_day_kiss.jpg', '/') + 1) . '

(hope i don't break any laws linking that from wikipedia).

street photography is Hard (tm) :(
10/12/2006 01:05:44 PM · #13
[quote=lament] If you're doing street photography, consider looking at photos by master street photographers, in particular, say, Henri Cartier-Bresson. Also read //en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Street_photography .

With street photography, "emotional" photographs usually do involve an outright display of emotion. A famous example:
' . substr('//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/d/d1/Vj_day_kiss.jpg/250px-Vj_day_kiss.jpg', strrpos('//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/d/d1/Vj_day_kiss.jpg/250px-Vj_day_kiss.jpg', '/') + 1) . '

(hope i don't break any laws linking that from wikipedia).

street photography is Hard (tm) :( [/quote

You can always fake emotion in a staged photograph as shown above.
10/12/2006 01:24:11 PM · #14
My best advice would be to browse the the works of some 'masters'. For example, Richard Avedon managed to get wonder deep portraits with the most basic lighting and sets. I don't know if you call them emotional, but they are deep and I'm willing to bet that is what your instructor wants. Then there is Sebastiao Salgado who definitely manages to create an emotional response.

Unfortunately, I have no advice on how to get the emotion or depth into your work. I have lost any depth to my work (if there ever was any) and cannot seem to find my way past the surface of my subjects.
10/12/2006 01:26:09 PM · #15
Check out this thread for how one photographer gets emotion from her subjects.

(and no, I'm not really suggesting this, just thought I'd resurrect the subject)
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