I’m still surprised how little technology and surroundings matter for a good photographer. Undoubtedly mastering technology is a necessary step in photography but it is not what separates good from great photography. It is when we want to capture something that we realize seeing and taking a picture are two different things. The picture could be overexposed, blurry, or badly framed despite looking perfect in our view. The good thing is that once technology is mastered the rest of life could be spent on mastering the visual language. All good photographers have developed their own visual language which they are known for.
A good photographer is someone who can manipulate the representation of reality and make it believable. If our eyes are not trained in seeing photographically, we will use the camera to try to replicate reality as we see it. This is a mistake. We try to transfer what we sense through our 5 senses into a 2 dimensional still image. This is why most amateur photography is very similar in its look; in the begging it is just a bad copy of reality. However, as one gets better at photography the difference between the vision of individual photographers becomes more noticeable. With even more experience, we go from documentary style photography to artistic and stylized reality. The more skilled a photographer gets, the more of his own style can be seen in that final image. Great photographers get famous and get recognized for their own style of representing reality.
The way Michael sees Katya is very different from how you and me see her. In this set, Michael used a simple bed scene to photograph Katya. It is the way he sees Katya, morning light and white bedsheets, that makes this set so personal. Our model is a very beautiful woman and would look great in a simple iPhone shot, but there is more depth to Michal’s picture than just beauty. This is not the Katya you would see if you had met her. This is Katya in Michael’s world and we believe him that a Katya like that might really exist. But then what version of Katya is real anyway? In a good photograph we are fooled by the beautiful magic of an artist who creates a world of his own making. This is why I love good photography so much – it tricks me to believe in artistic reality more than in the real world, and I love it precisely for it. I love seeing Katya through Michael’s eyes – it makes me appreciate her from the perspective of another set of eyes. I look at Katya now and everything I liked about her has now expanded to include what Michael liked about her. It’s this sponge effect that great photography offers us. By exposing us to another’s vision we grow our perception of reality.
You can see Katya’s full set here or just click on an image below