Do photographs convey a reality, or merely a depiction of reality, or a secret? – I often wonder.
This question becomes all the more beautiful and intriguing when I look at nature photos, which is also one of the reasons I enjoy nature photography more than any other kind.
In nature photos, we are mostly fascinated by the tremendous visual appeal and beauty of nature & her elements. Those photos are pleasant and provide awe. But nature is immense beyond her beauty, and nature photos can awaken so much more than admiration in our hearts.
When we pay attention to moments captured in nature, they draw us in… silently, they tell little tales that make us melancholic, or, giggle with joy. At the very least, they have some questions and answers hidden inside. Always.
Here I have compiled a list of 11 wonderful photography quotes and have made an attempt to interpret and connect them with some of my nature photographs.
“A photograph is a secret about a secret. The more it tells you the less you know.”
As the afternoon sun rays kept filtering through the soft ripples on the Mediterranean ocean, I kept looking at the pebbles under the crystal clear water at the shore. This surreal glimpse, what part of the ocean’s secret it was?
“In photography, there is a reality so subtle that it becomes more real than reality.”
– Alfred Stieglitz
A random wild trail somewhere in Sierra forests looked so much more profound, almost life-changing when I saw it as framed so beautifully by that hole in the fallen bark of a big tree that once stood there looking upon that trail.
“Taking pictures is like tiptoeing into the kitchen late at night and stealing Oreo cookies.”
– Diane Arbus
Some moments in nature are so delicious, you must steal them, but the point is to be very quiet, observant and absolutely inconspicuous…then you can grab it from nature, right under her nose! :)
Once you have accomplished that, you may even get some bonus time, just to gaze at it all and wonder how meticulously perfect nature can be!
“Photography through the camera is an instrument of detection. We photograph not only what we know, but also what we don’t know”
– Lisette Model
We know nothing about the existence in its entirety. When we zoom in to a small part of textures found in nature, we enter the depths of the world that we otherwise look at the only surface of. Zooming into this Sunflower, the moment I was about to take pride of really seeing the flower, I spotted that tiny, tiny due drop at the very center…and I knew, I would look at this frame a thousand times and I would still be ignorant! :)
“I like photographs which leave something to the imagination.”
– Fay Godwin
A pigeon sitting on the railing of high rise building, facing a particularly odd evening sky. But it looked like it was looking in oblivion. Do birds and animals have contemplative moments too? Perhaps we will never know.
“Photography deals exquisitely with appearances, but nothing is what it appears to be.”
– Duane Michals
Our rational minds won’t take a minute to label the following frame as camouflage. But doesn’t these instances of uncanniness in nature baffle you?
I have this feeling coming to me, again and again – In nature, everything is a reflection of everything else. Everything can be transformed into everything else.
“Life is like a good black and white photograph, there’s black, there’s white, and lots of shades in between.”
– Karl Heiner
The beautiful graphic pattern created with those perfectly cut woods intrigued me. And that fallen pinecone, what a poetic embellishment in the frame! But how can I like trees cut down and arranged that way? Aren’t they supposed to be standing vertically, tall and alive?
What to love, what to not? What is right, what is wrong? :)
“We are making photographs to understand what our lives mean to us.”
Sometimes one composition of nature contains a lifetime of wisdom.
That evening above the Mediterranean sea was mammoth. The sea, the sky getting reflected in it, the colors of the sky, its clouds, the order of the clouds and their chaos. Everything in this frame echoed one resounding message to me – You are nothing!
“All photographs are accurate. None of them is the truth.”
Nature exists in continual honesty. It’s our minds however that can deceive us. What looks like a betrayed young flower branch fallen from the plant and lying amidst the dry, dead twigs, is just a tender branch, who is unable to hold her own weight and then decides to make her growth in the downward direction. The answer of every seemingly negative situation is perhaps, look hard at it, look again, even harder! :)
“When I photograph, what I’m really doing is seeking answers to things.”
I must tell you a little story behind this odd-looking photo. I visited a marsh in India in a hope to see flamingos and other migratory birds who visit that place. However, when I reached there, all I could find in the sandy, wetland there, were these fresh footprints of birds. And they had flown away to some far water reservoir, I could see them as merely as some pink dots moving from the distance. But for some strange reason, the fact that they were here moments before, made me smile. Was it about seeing how beautiful those footprints looked? Or Was it the hope that they will come back soon? I don’t know.
“The camera is an excuse to be someplace you otherwise don’t belong. It gives me both a point of connection and a point of separation.”
– Susan Meiselas
I discovered this quote very recently and was stunned the way it relates to my emotions, word, by word.
I have a nuanced, complicated, bittersweet relationship with my nature photography, especially that done during travels. Every time I am clicking these photos, I have this painful question arising slowly from some deep corner of my heart…why do I even have to capture this in this little camera? Why do I get to take away only this much with me? And then almost every time when I revisit these compositions, as beautiful and pleasant as they might be, they bring me to tears.
If you enjoy capturing nature photos or looking at them, do you make attempts to see your own questions and answers hidden in nature photos?
Let me know by commenting below! :)
Check out my Free Nature Stock Photos gallery here.
Photographs ©2012-2019 Gyaneshwari Dave