I have a favorite photographer (David Du Chemin) that I like to follow and I have read most of his e-books as well. He wrote a book called the “A Deeper Frame, Creating Deeper Photographs & More Engaging Experiences” a few years ago that I was recently re-reading. He draws a distinction between what he refers to as “readers” and “viewers” of photographs. He sees “viewing”of something as a passive activity, the opposite of participation or interaction. David feels that when we are a “reader” of something when we are more engaged or a participant in it. He (and I) hope that our photographs engage people, draw them in, make them more than viewers but readers, instead.
I certainly have noticed the difference between the readers and the viewers of my photography. During the Art Festivals I have done over the years, I have seen folks come into my booth and spend time really looking at each image and reading the labels about the image. They take their time and you can see they are getting enjoyment from the experience. I love it when I see that behavior. It means I have told a good story and they are enjoying reading it.
Now that we have been home now for several days from our long journey to Scotland and Ireland, I have had some time to reflect a bit more on our trip. It came to me that we definitely were not “viewers” but were went deeper and were true “readers” of our Scotland and Ireland experience.
The length of our trip was close to six weeks in length and we used a combination of guided tours (Road Scholar) and independent time on our own exploring. We really got a deeper reading of Scotland and Ireland. It as awesome learning experience and we both now have a much better understanding of the people, the culture, the history, the archeology and landscapes of these most amazing people and lands.
All travel is good for us as it breaks down myths and builds up understanding. It is even better if you can have a “deeper reading” during your travels rather than the brief “viewer” experience. We are more likely to be lastingly affected.
P.S. The photograph above is from the area of Ireland called “The Burren”. This image is a good one, I think, of what is meant by a “deeper frame” image. I draws you in and you are left with a little mystery as the landscape is strange and different you wonder that the story is about it.