what makes a photograph arresting?

My son, Yeshen, shares one of my passions, photography. Here are three of my many favourites. Still life of the chair …

This is exquisitely composed, I love everything about it, the light and colours, the shadow at the right corner (it wouldn’t be the same without the shadow in the right corner), the space … it’s difficult to define what makes an image special, the best I can come up with is –  I love looking at it, I can rest in this space. I would like to have a large print of it.

This scene of a street in Vietnam has a different quality, a cyclist passing before the door and the bricks that will survive him, a fleeting moment, and again, there is something about the colour tones and the composition, the lines, that pleases the eye. Notice the light spot on the stone next to the door? not sure what it is, it could be a tiny flame, and it adds something to the whole.










Bridges are powerfully symbolic. They appears prominently in my novel ‘Course of Mirrors’. This double-arched bridge at Waverley Abbey is dowsed in beautiful light, which gives it a mysterious and dreamlike quality.







Here are two sites where Yeshen’s images appear:





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3 responses to “what makes a photograph arresting?

  1. All three of these are quite lovely. It is so thrilling isn’t it when a snap comes out with a bit of extra magic in it. we are so very fortunate these days in this digital age to be able to snap away without hesitation just on the off chance that we may make a masterpiece. – Great post


  2. I’m embarrassed to say I still use my old Nikon. I love the instant translation from shutter to image. Most digital cameras, unless they are very expensive, have a slight delay, which is useless for portraits. I also love the grain of high speed film. When I need something in high resolution for big prints, I scan the image at high res.. My son uses both analogue and digital cameras. BTW, masterpieces rarely happen in the off chance. It’s the eye. It’s what you translate from around you. Same with writing, no?


  3. Pingback: … framing our impressions … | Course of Mirrors

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