Content versus techique

As I prepare to begin the fifth and final part of the Art of Photography course, Illustration and Narrative, I’ve begun to think about the content of my photographs rather than just the technique.
From the very first conversation with my tutor, he has always said that the content is what is important. It doesn’t matter what camera or technique is used, it is the content, message or intent that counts.
Likewise, in my very first post, I talked about being happy enough that I could take pleasing pictures but that they lacked message or depth or what was required to make people want to come back to a particular image, rather than just giving a casual glance. I’m excited that Illustration and Narrative will begin to help me address this.

It’ll be about putting the subject first and applying the skills we have learnt or refreshed so far – putting our photography to use.

As the course notes tell us:

Instead of choosing things to photograph on the grounds that they are graphically attractive, you are now going to start with the subject, then consider what is important and interesting about it, and let this suggest the treatment.

With this in mind, I stumbled across this documentary about André Kertész (an interesting insight into his life but only begins to scratch the surface of his huge and varied life’s work) and he talks about exactly the same thing:

If you learn to write, you start by learning the alphabet. If you practice writing, you end up with a beautiful, nicely made alphabet. But it’s what you’re writing with the alphabet that is the important thing


[the picture] was super-perfect but expresses nothing. They had a good subject but killed it with a million details that weren’t needed

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