"The illiterate of the future will be the person ignorant of the use of the camera as well as of the pen." -Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, 1936

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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Good Visual vs Good Image

A friend of a friend photographer once said that in photography there are two different types of good photos. One is photos with good visual and another is photos with good image. You're now probably confused as I was when I heard it.

So what's the difference?
Well, he explained that good visual photos are photos that have been set up to look good, with an expensive camera, good lighting, planning, post editing, and all that. Maybe some examples would be a fashion photo or a stock photo. And then good image photos are photos that may not be created with the best lighting or equipment, but they capture the best moments, the best feeling of the moment, and they can speak poetically and emotionally "underneath". Some perfect examples for these may be from social documentary photos or journalism photos.

After a good amount of thought, I think I agree with this notion, as is relevant to many creative fields not only photography, but also in art, writing, performance, etc. Think about it.

However, should they be exclusive to one another or could a photo be a good visual AND a good image? And, is the difference between the two is just in the matter of planning and unplanned (lucky shot)? This is a good topic for discussion.