Show one thing, and make people think of its opposite.
I enjoy photographs that manage to pull the trick of using some simple symbol. We may not notice this symbol with our “naked eye” but the camera can zoom in at it. Somehow, this camera-noticed symbol triggers complex associations and deeper meanings. And I especially love pics that show something that fires up associations opposite to what you just saw.
Like in the pic above. It shows frozen firewood billets dusted with snow. But viewers think of warm fireplaces; a glass of wine in which fire reflections dance and tremble; a friendly chat in front of a fireplace; a few people without hang-ups went as far as associating it with having sex on a carpet in front of a fireplace (I blame confectionary ads and, perhaps, the popularity of 50 shades of gray).
I admit I’ve met people who didn’t go beyond thinking of cold logs of firewood in cold snow. Further inquiry revealed they’d never had a fireplace. I can’t blame them, but I can pity them. Like I pity that boy from a poor family who had never had the chance to find out he was allergic to caviar.
Great paintings can do better than bad photographs (the same is true for great photographs, of course). Let’s take this Sevostianov’s “Boy & Puppy”:
Most photographs of people with puppies take you no further than a momentary “pretty-cutie” exclamation, before you click on the “next photo”. This crayon drawing – being very simple – tells you a story of care, love, finding someone, helping them; a tale of friendship, protection and loyalty. Unlike an simple photograph, the more you look into it, the more you get involved into the story, for you discover the position of feet, the tilt of the boy’s head, and all these elements tell you a story about his feelings towards the dog, life, universe and everything.
Some more posts about Sevostianov can be found, if you click on the tag with his name. It is worth doing if you are interested in great art )