Starting Out: Something omitted
Although I don’t read him much, Hemingway is one of my favorite authors. I remember this short story he wrote that I read in high school. It was about a man returning from war, and about all the things he’d seen and about how that had completely changed him as a person. In the end, his girlfriend and he are sitting by the water, and they know it’s over, even though neither says it out loud.
The whole story was a page and half.
It was so deep and so beautiful and so poignant. And so short.
Hemingway didn’t need to detail every harrowing adventure the returned soldier had experienced. He didn’t need to document every awkward date the soldier’d had with his girlfriend upon his return. He didn’t need to tell us what the veteran had for breakfast that morning, the color of the boats in the water, or the sound of the cicadas in the distance.
He gave us the framework and knew we were clever enough to figure it out. He knew you could tell as story effectively without stating the obvious.
Photography is like that, too.
I took this photo at a shoot on Friday morning. And I can’t stop looking at. Not just for what it contains, but for what it doesn’t contain.
You can’t see Mom or Dad’s face, but you can just imagine their enthusiasm. Dad’s protective hands are there for the moment he falls. Mom’s jazz hands show she’s so excited to see her baby walking. And the look on Baby’s face as he runs to see her. You don’t have the full picture on camera, but your mind can make up the rest of the story.
And really, that’s what this photography thing is about- storytelling. Try doing it sometimes with something omitted.