Seeing Beneath The Surface Of Things
Do me a favor. Go grab your passport or any photo ID. You can put me on hold while you go get it. Okay. Now look at the picture of yourself. What does it say about you? Not much, right? It says that this is what you look like on the day it was taken, when you weren't allowed to smile or show any emotion whatsoever. Truth be told, if it's anything like mine, it probably says that is what you'd look like if you ever got arrested. Your passport photo tells the immigration officer what you look like The semblance of you. What it doesn't tell them is anything about who you are. What makes you you? Now take a look at this magazine cover. Study it. What can you tell me about this person from their picture alone, They're powerful, confident their hands on. They have a playful, almost cheeky side of their disposition. While this portrait reveals is not just what the subject looks like, where their personality and their character, too. This is the difference between semblance and essence between...
the outward appearance of a subject, place or thing, and it's intrinsic nature or indispensable quality Here's another example of capturing the essence of a subject. The great wildebeest migration, which takes place every year in East Africa, is one of nature's greatest spectacles, but it's actually pretty tough to photograph. Well, much of the time is just an enormous brown mass of animals, and there's so much going on, it's hard to know where to point your camera now. When I was there a couple of years ago, what struck me most was not the river crossing itself, but the interaction between the zebra and the wilder beast. It reminded me of how I imagine a battle from the First World War would have manifested. The zebra were like military generals directing the action the wildebeest with, uh, Tommy's, the infantry under orders charging over the top to an unknown destiny. Amidst the smoke and the dust and the turmoil. Many wouldn't make it, but charged they did with this image. That was the essence of the story I wanted to tell. That's what you should be aiming to get to the bottom of with your photography, the quintessence, the substance, the spirit of your subjects. Postcard shots focus on semblance. Great photographs reach for the heart