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What makes a good picture? What things do I like to photograph? How did I choose the pictures on this website? And where did I put my lens cap? These are all good questions, and I will try to answer some of them here.


What Makes a Good Picture?  


It is no single thing: I’m attracted by some shape, colour or texture. I notice a geometric design lurking in the background of a scene. There is a sense of perspective that makes it appear as if an object is reaching out of its setting. It could be any of these things or something else. It’s hard to identify a single principle, but the photographs I like tend to fall into two opposing categories.


The best photographs are often simple, in the sense that they leave no question as to their centre of interest, or the emotion they wish to convey. They have high contrast, a strong foreground figure, a bold design, an aggressive crop so that only a few visual elements are left within the frame. The viewer is engaged by the subject, or by its unusual presentation.


On the other hand, many photographs are good precisely because they are not direct. They involve subtle shades of colour, low contrast, vague outlines, figures that are hard to identify, information that is partially obscured. These sorts of pictures can be effective because they create an ambiguous situation that is subject to the viewer’s interpretation. If the image is intriguing enough, the viewer will enjoy the process of interpreting it


All Images © Tom Onyshko, 2017