I just posted pictures of summer to cheer myself up, especially after a very disappointing month of rain. Just as a sunny day affects our moods in a positive way, so does the light in an image. It helps the emotional narrative and gives it feeling. The impressionists used light to give the viewer a third dimension to art, in particular Claude Monet. He transformed painting from a literal translation of the real world, to a state of the subconscious mind. William Turner, the father of impressionism and James Whistler were also the gods of light.
So before the shutter is pressed, see how the play of light can can change the image. Wait a second for the sun to come out from behind a cloud, or turn a desk light on and step out of the shadows.
The work that nobody sees, leads to the great work that people can appreciate. For every image published in a magazine or book, there are likely 100 or more, that the editor has chosen from. In taking that many photos, an idea can been explored from different angles and a narrative can slowly be built, but showing them all is confusing, boring and it turns the audience off. A friend once posted 250 images on Facebook of his travels. By the tenth click, I too had moved on. As they say
"A picture is worth a thousand words"
But showing a thousand pictures, can be white noise. The great work comes out of a distillation of process.
I try to keep my photographic work simple. Just as Hemingway wrote in a spare and distilled way, he left the imagination to the audience. Today a lot of images have become too complicated and dressed up, with colour, filter and technique that is often the instant process of a computer, rather than the observers eyes.
I prefer black and white because it strips away so much unnecessary information and leaves the viewer with a distilled visual narrative. It becomes less about me the photographer and more about what is seen, and some times the questions of the unseen. Just as Hemingway wouldn't waste pages and the readers time on descriptions of pretty sunsets, in black and white you can't really see them anyway.
Vaughan James is a photographer and writer based in Zurich Switzerland