What Else It Is

I confess, I’m old fashioned and actually read books…preferably physical books. A good book gives you inspiration, ideas, general knowledge and it makes you think, all which helps you become a better photographer. Read books. Recently* I read “The Essence of Photography” (ISBN 1937538516) by Bruce Barnbaum, an inspiring book that gave me new ideas and reminded me of things that I had previously learned but forgot, or not fully understood.What Else It Is

In the book there is a quote by Minor White who once said “One should not only photograph things for what they are but for what else they are.” I had read this before but it had never made sense to me. When shooting and editing “What Else It Is” I had the quote in my head. My interpretation of the quote is that, a photo like this isn’t about a fence, water and the sky.

It’s a photo of serenity and a curved line, nothing more. Our brains love curved lines. Light tones and colors creates a peaceful, serene atmosphere.

Simplicity and a clear focal point is highly valued by our system, our eyes know where to go and we don’t have to struggle trying to figure out what we are looking at. Furthermore, there is a important fact about the human vision system that perhaps isn’t obvious. Probably all photographs know that we are drawn to bright areas in a photo, you read about it all the time. However, another important eye magnet is areas of high contrast. This means that a dark object set against a midtone or bright area can throw your composition totally out of balance, the viewers eyes will constantly be drawn to this high contrast area.

Attention to details is crucial for a good result, there’s no shortcut. Trust your instincts, learn to master your camera and lenses. Learn to master your editing tools so that you know in the field what can be achieved when processing. If you know that a distracting element in the frame easily can be retouched, you free up resources for the creative process. Evaluate your photos, learn what makes them work. Read books on anything that has to do with photography.

I liked this photo so much that I made several versions, found in this portfolio.

Comments is always much appreciated, please let me know which version you prefer and if my thoughts make sense to you.

If you’ve enjoyed and found this useful, please share and make sure to subscribe to my blog.

Thank you for your time.


Nikon D800
Zeiss Distagon T* 25/2,8 ZF
Manfrotto 190 XPRO3
Manfrotto 496RC2
B+W 106M Multi Coated +6 Stop Neutral Density Filter
B+W 110M Multi Coated +10 Stop Neutral Density Filter


Lightroom CC
Photoshop CC
Color Efex Pro
Silver Efex Pro

* This post was originally published about two years ago when I made these photos.


3 thoughts on “What Else It Is

    • Thank you for your comment Javier, much appreciated.

      I like that quote, it makes perfect sense, thank you for sharing.

      Speaking of Stieglitz…. I just bought and read the book “Camera Work” (ISBN 9783836544078) It features what was published in his magazine.


  1. Pingback: The Importance Of Knowing Your Limitations And Skills – Anders Stangl Photography

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