Are Your Photos Intimate?

Downtown LA, 2016
Downtown LA, 2016

It is hard to know what makes a “good” photograph, but it is easy to know what makes an intimate photograph.

An intimate photograph is something close to your heart and close to your soul. The more intimate you make your photographs, the more personal they are, and the more your viewer can relate to them.

I think this is why we are so naturally attracted to reality tv shows, Instagram, and other forms of social media. We are curious about the personal and intimate lives of others. And the more intimate they make it, the more connected we feel with others.

What is intimate to you?

Berkeley, 2016 #cindyproject
Berkeley, 2016 #cindyproject

What do you find intimate and personal in your life? Photograph that.

The more intimate you make your photos, the more you reveal about yourself.

Some of the best photographers are the ones who put themselves under strict scrutiny under the camera lens. Photographers who shoot self portraits of themselves (like Cindy Sherman) reveal an intimate look into themselves and how they see the world.

I love the personal work of Araki in “Sentimental journey” which he photographed his wife and how she passed away. It is extremely intimate — death is an experience we can all relate with. Therefore we feel closer to Araki, his work, and the work resonates with us.

Share your soul

Busan, 2013. Part of my "Grandfather" series.
Busan, 2013. Part of my “Grandfather” series.

If you can’t see your own soul in your own photos, your images aren’t intimate enough.

Even if you photograph strangers on the street, think of way you can make it more intimate. Shoot closer (with physical proximity comes emotional proximity). Or ask for permission, ask for permission, and engage with them.

Work on a project which has to do with a personal life experience of yours (like a funeral of a family member, a self documentary series, or photographing your co workers).

The more you put yourself out there, the more you bear your soul, the more your photos with resonate with yourself and with your viewer.


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