By: Danielle Cornely
We see an enormous amount of images every day. We look at pictures of our friends on social media, see carefully constructed product displays on billboards, and peruse photos of celebrities online. With photography being so prevalent in our lives, how do we separate what we like to glance at from what we want to frame, hang on the wall, and appreciate as art in our homes? There are a few qualities to consider when looking at a photograph as a work of art.
Quality of light.
A picture can be interesting, funny, important, and any other variety of qualities, but without good lighting it could be uninspiring. The light in a photograph sets the mood for the viewer, illuminates what is important, and obscures what isn’t. Quality of light is what determines if a photo is beautiful, not just pretty.
If you’re into color, you want to consider the hues and saturations of a photograph. Will it complement your home’s color scheme? And how do you feel when you look at it? If you’re looking for calming art, look for photos with lots of blues and greens. If your space needs a punch of energy, look for reds and yellows. However, if black and white is more your style, make sure to look for a full range of value. While the degree of contrast in an image is a matter of personal taste, photographs that include very light areas as well as very dark areas are generally the most visually striking.
This technique isolates the subject, and elevates the importance of it within the photograph. Negative space acts as a spotlight, boldly highlighting the main focus of the image. Photographs with a lot of negative space are visually quiet, and are perfect if you are looking for art that won’t compete with multiple patterns and textures present in your space.
“The Decisive Moment.”
A term coined by renowned photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson, the decisive moment is defined as “the simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second, of the significance of an event as well as the precise organization of forms which gives that event its proper expression.” Everyone has seen a photograph that exhibits this quality. They make us say, “Wow! How did they capture that?” A photo like this is a natural statement piece and could easily be the main focal point of a room.
Collect your own photography using this advice. But have fun, and don’t forget to look beyond the technical aspects and appreciate the art for what it is at its core: a display of passionate interest and feeling.