“A photograph is usually looked at – seldom looked into.” –Ansel Adams
It is easy to simply look at a photo as you would anything else. Ansel Adadms captured breathtaking black-and-white landscape images—you do not have to look into one of his photos to be impressed. Beautiful photos are often beautiful at a glance. Looking into a photo is more complicated.
The artistic and technical mastery of the Mona Lisa is clear—you look at it, and you know. However, it is her smile that people have been so intrigued by all this time. It is haunting, as it is not the blank slate-expression of many portraits of the Renaissance, nor is it a full-blown, toothy smile. It is small, delicate, and mysterious. That seemingly minute detail is what is found when a piece of art is looked into. Looking into and seeing that kind of detail in a photo is just as important as it is in a painting.
When I am focusing on those details, it has a huge effect on how I choose to capture things. Depending on what that detail is, I may choose to compose my shot so it is more subtle—a treat for the viewer who really looks. Other times, it is the main focus of the image and I really try to get up close and personal with it.