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Whispering Versus Shouting Images

Published February 7th, 2012

Working Note:

It seems to me that the concepts of whispering and shouting images are good ways to distinguish certain styles within street photography.

A whispering image is an image that you have too listen to, pay attention to, before it reveals its story. Docklands, that you see in this post, I would say, is a whispering image. You have to pay a certain attention, yes even study it, to have it tell its story. It does not force itself upon you.

When whispering images are at their best they are pulling you in. It is possible, therefore, to talk about whispering images as pulling images.

A shouting image works differently. It springs on you as if it forces you to take attention. Something that you cannot get away from. When they are at their best shouting images could also be called pushing images.

Of course there are things in between. There are hardly pulling images that don’t have push elements in them. How else would you otherwise notice them? Likewise, there are hardly pushing images that don’t have pulling elements in them. How else would you keep an interest in them?

The intriguing questions are if these two types of photographic styles carry with them affinities to equipment types, as well. Some might say that whispering images are better served with short (wide) lenses, shouting images better served with long lenses.

Some could even say that whispering images are more consistent with an observing point of view; shouting images more consistent with an interactive point of view.

Taken to extremes, political implication could be involved as well, but that is another story that need not concern us here.



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