If ever there was a quote that has inspired me as a photographer, it is this one: “Don’t shoot what it looks like. Shoot what it feels like.” —- David Alan Harvey
One of the motivations that drives me to shoot personal work is the desire to capture the essence of what a particular moment felt like to me. I don’t crave a literal or precise image, although I do love how other artists capture them. Instead I long for the soul of a moment. I’m looking for something almost intangible — joy, gratitude, sense of place, wonder, the ephemeral. One of the techniques I fall back on again and again when I am trying to capture the essence of a what moment feels like to me is a silhouette.
I love how a silhouette can highlight a gesture,
or frame a subject with a spectacular background,
or freeze the action.
Sometimes I go for stark contrast between the subject and the background.
Other times I think the details of the environment are lovely, so I look for softer contrast.
Traditionally silhouettes are shot outdoors, just as the sun is going down.
But I have wonderful luck shooting silhouettes indoors, with the subject framed near a portal or window. This is simple to achieve as long as the subject is closer to the source of light than the camera.
Don’t have any human subjects at your disposal? I think a silhouette can be lovely when there are other elements creating contrast, such as architecture or in this case, power lines.
Have you ever reflected on why you shoot or what you are driven to capture? Are there certain techniques you rely on to express your vision? I learn so much by connecting with other photographers and would love to hear what moves you to grab your camera and click.