Friday, March 9, 2012

One Picture, Two Impressions.

The Color Version, 2012

I know it’s painfully obvious. But I still find it interesting how many different interpretations there can be of the same scene.
I’m not talking about the kind of different interpretations you learn about in Psychology 101 where ten people witnessing the same event tell ten different “true” versions of the event.
Rather, I’m talking about how easy it us to change the meaning of a photograph by just changing one thing. And again, I’m not talking about editing out an ugly sign or other obtrusive elements.
I took the picture above a few weeks ago while out in the car on a rainy day. I hadn’t taken any pictures in a few days and was carrying the camera with me to a meeting just to see if having the camera at hand would inspire me to see something fresh and interesting.
I didn’t see anything fresh and particularly interesting. But I did come to a standstill at a stoplight long enough for me to lift the camera to my eye and take this picture of the blurry scene through the windshield. I was initially drawn to the colors. I focused on the windshield so that the colors would be purposely blurred.
That should have been the end of the story. I should have downloaded the picture from the camera, given it a brief “Pfft!” and sent it to the trashcan.
But I happened to be refreshing my Adobe Lightroom skills and grabbed this picture to play around with. I made a few basic adjustments and then, just as I was about to sign off, converted the picture to back-and-white. In that brief moment, by simply removing those warm blurry reds, I took the focus off the colors and instead made this picture about the raindrops on the windshield.
No great revelation here. Just another example of how a single simple change can change what you thought was interesting into something that’s arguably more interesting.
The B&W Version, 2012


  1. Great example--that really is incredible. I like them both for very different reasons.

  2. I prefer the blurry red one. But David and I frequently look at, and talk about, our wonderful gray rainy photo with the magenta umbrella photo of yours, so I'm not a total philistine ;D.