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The Photograph & You >

29 - More about Surprise

Garry Winogrand said, "I photograph something to see what it will look like photographed."

Surprise is another essential ingredient in a photograph.

Humans love surprise, from our earliest encounters with it while playing peek-a-boo, to looking at photographs.

The term encompasses the many types of surprise, including the following.

• Great light

• Movement or stasis

• Harmony/order/stability/balance, or the opposite, such as Koyaanisqatsi, a film about life out of balance

• Formalism, geometry, composition, tone, color

• Seeing something in a photograph that would cause a PET scan of our brain to light up with our own memory, commonality, anti-ness, fear, lust, or ?

• Seeing something that we would ordinarily have passed by without notice

• Being taken to a place/mood/context that we wouldn't ever encounter otherwise, such as an emergency room floor after the treatment of a gunshot wound (Eugene Smith) or "Skips First Shot [of heroin]" (Larry Clark).

• Time is frozen, sequenced, squandered, and ?

• Knowledge that a person made the photograph, while at great risk.

• In the case of a daguerreotype, that the plate was present, in the camera, and the light from the subject touched the plate that is before you.