Don’t take photos of visual scenes

Visual scenes

You go to a photography exhibition, the layout of the frames on the wall is visually pleasing, you want to take a picture of it, don’t. Visual scenes are anything setup for you to enjoy with your eyes, it could be a live music venue with nice lighting for the show, a theatre play with wonderful decors and costumes, an exhibition, a boutique front windows, a film. Yes, a film is the perfect visual scene, would you seriously take a picture of a scene in a film ?


Experience the visual

The visual scenes are made to be experienced, some of them can be experienced instantly as a unique piece for a painting, or a live music event, that will just no longer exist once you have watched it. Experienced it. Some of these visual scenes are too short to experience them through your viewfinder or camera screen. Experiencing the visual in real, not through pixels or a piece of glass is the best gift you could give to yourself. Your camera will never capture the details of the movement of that dancer at the ballet, it will never capture the whole layout of the exhibition you have been to. However you can then focus on elements of architecture that made your viewing unique, let’s say the shadow of stairs on the curtains :

Remember the visual

What you photograph, you don’t remember. Souvenirs are something quite vague, series of impressions that you store in your memories and you alter them every time you access them. Let’s say you go to a live concert of Ben Harper in the Arènes de Nîmes, your seat is up in the amphitheatre and Ben harper is singing acapella under spot the light. Your visual souvenir is basically this :

However after checking on youtube for videos of that event, you end up slightly altering your souvenir to include this perspective :

And now your souvenir could be destroyed forever, updated. Remember the visual. Don’t photograph it.

Share the visual

Share the visual experiences, but how to share them without pictures ? Words, drawing, painting. Sharing visual experiences will help you develop new skills that you can later on bring to your photography. Let’s say you want to paint the impression you had from that live event, chances are it will look nothing like it was but you will have developed a new skill, let’s say drawing or painting and your take on drawing Ben Harper signing acapella from a high spot in the amphitheatre could turn into some impressionist painting, allowing you to work on your composition and then bring back this composition skills into your photography. Instead, if you are at a museum, just take some time to write down the artist name, year, name of the piece, otherwise, you’ll just be cataloging.