A letter from a reader — what makes a good photograph?

I receive a good number of emails everyday from My Cigar Blog — advice about the care, storage, smoking of cigars, or sometimes brand recommendations, gift ideas, etc. But this is the first time i’m receiving a email from the Volume of Interactions since i transformed it into a photoblog several months ago.

And what a first question it is: “What makes a good photograph? How do i make my photographs nice?”

No parameters, qualifying statements or rules of engagement. Just that.

It’s not a simple question, and one that took a while to figure out how to answer. Here was my reply:

“The nicest photographs in my experience are the ones that look almost as though you’re seeing them with your own eyes. We see beautiful things everyday, most of the time without realizing it. But we don’t see beautiful photographs everyday. Why is that? It’s because it’s extremely difficult to replicate on film (digital or otherwise) what the eyes see. If you figure out how to do that (i struggle with this every photograph i take), then your photographs will be beautiful.”

Sleeping beauty

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