Sculpted Bronze, ©Dana Sohm (Detail of the Experience Music Project building in Seattle, WA)
Photographs are powerful when they create a human connection between the photographer and the viewer. It is a photograph’s ability to evoke human emotions that gives it power to affect lives.
But can purely abstract images impart emotional power? Like all photographs, some do, some do not. Some connect with certain people but not others. A viewer’s years of life experience predispose his emotional reaction.
When a human connection is made, magic happens. Sharing a photograph becomes a form of communications between photographer and viewer. But sometimes the message sent and the message received is not the same.
I am working on a presentation called “Power of the Picture” in which I explore photography’s ability to move people emotionally and to persuade. I draw a great deal of inspiration from Daniel Kahneman’s book, Fast and Slow Thinking, in which he explore the mind’s ability to process a great deal of information effortlessly and unconsciously. Kahneman called this “System l” thinking. I am convinced that powerful photos (and drawings, paintings, computer renderings, etc.) resonate with System l thinking.
My first presentation of the Power of the Picture is tomorrow night (April 8, 2013) at a meeting of the Salt Lake Photographic Print Society. It takes place at the Salt Lake Main Library at 7 pm. The public in invited, free of charge.
Dana Sohm, Sohm Photografx