On Monday, after having retouched the business portrait posted in this entry, I decided to have a little fun. Something of a follow up to The Great Pappy Van Winkle's Family Reserve 20 year old Straight Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey Affair, in which the pictured person was an integral player - it was his official recognition as an associate attorney in the wife's firm which was being celebrated and led directly to the Great Affair.
In any event, before I sent the retouched picture to the firm for final approval, I placed my picture of the bottle of bourbon in the upper left corner of the picture. I figured that it would get a humorous rise out of the wife and provide a brief respite from the heavy load she bears every day while working to keep me in the lifestyle to which I am accustomed (and so richly deserve).
Well, eventually, she did have a good laugh but not when I expected it to happen.
As it played out, the email response to my request, from both the wife and the subject, for approval to publish the picture on the firm website was a simple and straight forward ... "Looks good. Do it." A response which had a reverse spin effect in that it caused a laugh to escape my lips, along with a sense of amazement - neither the wife or the subject noticed the bottle of bourbon.
So, I called the wife and told her I had noticed an additional "flaw" in the picture which probably should be fixed. In order for her to see it, I asked her to open the picture on her computer screen. She looked at it for a moment and then asked, "What is it?" I told her to look in the upper left corner of the picture and, after a moment's hesitation, she broke out in fit of laughter, a fit made laughier by the fact that she not only thought it humorous but also that she realized that she had now set herself up for an endless and merciless dose of kidding about not seeing it.
All of which just goes to demonstrate that, no matter the best intentions of a picture maker to imbue his/her pictures with visual clues which might make his/her intended / implied meaning more apparent, a good segment of the viewing public ain't gonna see it, much less "get it". No doubt this viewing "deficiency" is responsible for the picture making adage of "Keep It Simple" ... a bit of picturing "wisdom" which I steadfastly ignore.
FYI, I avoid "keeping it simple", not because I have a subversive attitude toward picture making, but simply because my eye and sensibilities are drawn to visual complexity - dense relationships of color, shapes, form, texture, and the like. In short, it's how I see the world.
Another ancillary adage - IMO, a very informed one - which is very applicable to the seeing it or not seeing / getting it or not getting it conundrums is the one which suggests that "the more one brings to the viewing of a picture, the more one can see (actual and implied) in that picture". In other words, the more one is versed in the visual / photographic vernacular, the more can understand and appreciate a picture maker's actual and implied intention(s).
But, enough on complexity and simplicity for today. More on it tomorrow when I introduce my new picture making project, tentatively entitled "information overload".