Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1998/06/02

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Subject: Re: [Leica] Powerful image
From: Paul Chefurka <pchefurk@Newbridge.COM>
Date: Tue, 02 Jun 1998 09:18:21 -0400

Alan Hull wrote:
> I can understand a spectacular picture, (when you say WOW).  But what
> on earth is a powerful one?

I don't know if this will make sense, but I'll give it my best shot.

A spectacular picture creates a reaction that is somehow "external"
to the viewer, while a powerful picture creates a reaction that is


A spectacular picture depends on physical response for its effect
(contrasts, textures, forms, lines, colours, etc.), while a
powerful picture depends on an emotional, philosophical or
spiritual response.


A spectacular picture speaks to substance, a powerful picture
speaks to meaning.

This is why you see so many spectacular advertising photos,
but so few powerful ones.  Or, to be just a bit confrontational,
photographers with little to say can create spectacular pictures
by the manipulation of perspective, lighting, composition etc,
but they create powerful ones only by accident, because these
photographs depend on some communication from behind the lens
as well as from in front of it.

Paul Chefurka