If I was asked to identify the most important quality of a photograph it would be one I could not see. The image itself means nothing if it lacks this one simple truth. A quality only each of us can bring from within our hearts and souls. Simply put, the photograph and I are able to form a connection. Without a connection, ultimately I am left standing wooden and cold before it. I can admire it's composition, use of light and subject matter. However, unless a spark of wonder, joy or recognition forms within me, the image will just pass on to the next.
As the photographer it's easy to make a fairly good connection with an image, hell I took it, I should at least have some sort of paternal love for my creation... But that is not always the case.
Some of the landscape images I take will never affect me in a way others do. They are nice but, well, they just don't have that special sauce. But all is not lost, these images can often provide connection for someone else. A sale of an image is always an indicator of some level of connection. If I am lucky the customer might share with me their own connection; the special place they are taken too, a childhood memory, a loved family member's special spot and so on. When this type of connection happens, it is likely to be even more satisfying, it's like the joy of giving, and you get to hitch a ride on their rollercoaster.
So I suppose I should include an image I connect with. Connection can come from left field. This image of cattle in fog was taken on the Taieri Plains in Mosgiel. To me, when I look at that cow with his mouth open, I see Frank Sinatra in full swing. In my late teens I fell in love with Sinatra music and would listen to it on my CD walkman player. He became a music hero. I remember clearly where I was the day Frank Sinatra died, and yes, boom, this picture takes me to a rainy night in Austria. All that connection from a singing cow.
Trev Hill is a Dunedin Based Photographer