Monday, June 21, 2010

Quiet and Empty

What a difference a few hours makes! During the day, this location in Piazza San Marco by the Doge's Palace is brimming with people. People in line to tour the Basilica, people shopping at the overstuffed souvenier carts, people wandering around taking photos. But just a few hours later, near midnight, it's almost empty. How wonderful for me!

Recently, my husband asked me why I don't like people in my photos. Sometimes I will patiently wait for minutes for just the right shot, as people move in and out and through the frame I'm trying to capture. He and my son have to wait patiently too, until I'm ready to move on. They are good sports, I must say!

But there is a good reason for it. What I've discovered in my photography, is that I like to provide a place for the viewer in my photograph. A place for the imagination to wander. If there are clearly other people in the photo, if they are the subject, then the viewer might just see those people, and their experience, from the outside. If it is of an empty place, the viewer can participate in the photo... project themselves into the place, let their minds wander, imagine themselves there or create new story in the place. We all have a unique vision to show the world, this one just happens to be part of mine right now.

So, today I ask, what story do you see in this photo? Have you ever had that experience with a photograph before?


  1. I have always preferred pictures without people in them, too! There's a magical quality to them--a timelessness. A wideness--a delicate beauty--open to the private interpretation of the viewer--through your eyes. :)

  2. I look at this image and I am immediately aware of SOUNDS ... the echoing click clack of shoes on the stones, the distant sound of water lapping against piers, and distant sounds of people indoors, eating, laughing, enjoying the evening.

    I too tend to prefer taking photographs without people for the reasons you list. I find it tricky to capture the essence of a place AND wait for when either the people are gone, or are responding in a manner that compliments what I am experiencing. I am trying to capture people more, but it is hard. And this piece surprised me by how it engaged my other senses! Beautiful!

  3. I love this picture. I've been in that plaza at that hour and it was magical. I really agree with your thought that photos empty of people free our imagination to be in the photo ourselves... that's especially true of your photos in particular.

  4. i used to think people had to be in pictures or they would be boring. but i'm wiser now. i love the quite of this picture.


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