Just Let Your Photos Breathe

Ever look at a photo of yourself taken 5, 10, 15 years ago? Don’t you just sit their in awe, thinking about when the photo was taken? How you were feeling at the time. What you were wearing. Your hairstyle. Maybe you despise the photo because of how ridiculous you looked back then. But you’re still with that photo. You gaze at it more. It starts to make you smile. Maybe it may bring tears to your eyes because of the nostalgia it brings. It takes you back to that time.

You close your eyes… You feel…

This is why I believe one must give a photo some time. I never quite like when a photo, or a series of photos were taken, and immediately a friend or family member wants to see them right away. I mean, the photo was taken 5-10 minutes ago! They may have an immediate impact on you, but I always feel that they are best enjoyed weeks, months, even years from now.

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Why, you ask?

Well, for one, that particular event is still pretty fresh in your mind. You still know, for the most part, what happened. You can most likely even play the whole event in your head over and over again. Rushing home and viewing the photos that you took isn’t going to have much of an impact on you.

You must give the photos more time to breathe. Let them sit their for a while, then go back to them. By now, the event is a blur. You may remember some parts, but the rest you simply can’t remember. And that’s when the photo comes into play. This photo is a document of that particular event. It has captured the stuff you have forgotten. And upon viewing them much later, the impact is quite immense.

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Perhaps this is the downside of digital photos. Digital everything for that matter. The concept of having things instantaneous with little to no delay. I’m not saying digital is bad. I shoot my photos on a Canon T6i DSLR, and I love it. But let’s take things back before digital cameras came into play. Everything was, obviously, film. Photographers had to first shoot on film. Then send them over to the lab to get them developed, and just wait. It may have taken them months, but once the photos were developed and in their hands, they realized the impact of the photo. Perhaps this is why more and more photographers prefer to shoot film rather than digital besides, of course, the beautiful film look that you will get. 

Just let your photos breathe…  

This concept holds true for street photographers as well. I, for example, love looking at photos of cities from the past. I happen to live near New York City, and I was always drawn to photos of Manhattan from decades ago. It’s just a whole new time and era. People dressed completely different. Stores  and signs looked simple and you got an idea of how much things cost, or what was for sale, etc. I’m sure the street photographers at the time didn’t think much of the photos back then. They lived through the time and the moment when the photo was captured. It was still fresh in their head. Now, jump back twenty years from that particular snap… That same photographer will stare at the photo in silence.

Perhaps they will smile…. Perhaps they will tear up and cry….

One thing’s for sure… They will feel.

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Now go and find yourself a photo from the past. It could be any photo. One that you took. One that you’re in with your family or friends. One where you’re a child. Any photo from the past that has some sort of significance in your life. Then look at a photo you took on your phone 10 minutes ago. See the difference?

Just let your photos breathe…