Interestingness?

Have you ever wondered what spikes your interest in a picture that makes you click on it, look at it closer and for longer than just a split second instead of just sifting through more images?

I guess there are many things that would contribute to appeal in the classic sense. What got me thinking about it a bit more was when I was reflecting on how I personally decide – unconsciously I suppose – if a photo is grabbing my interest and is resonating with my senses or not.

What is it? Vivid colours? Magic lighting? An unconventional perspective? The subject itself? There is probably a million other details in every picture that make an image stand out.

In the end I believe the decisive element that makes an image interesting to us is what we don’t see every day – the unknown, the exotic, another culture; basically the opposite of what we consider daily life that is constantly around us, when we commute, stroll through the park in our neighbourhood, go down town shopping or go out for dinner. These are the visuals we are used to, there isn’t per se anything exciting about that any more.

That of course isn’t to say that pictures taken in our own small world directly around us can’t be interesting. For the viewer to be attracted though they need that unique photographic eye a tad more than an image that has been taken at the other end of the world capturing a moment that we have never really seen before.

Of course you see the obvious “flaw” in that theory. My world living in Germany, the visuals I’m used to, are completely different from say someone living in Japan. The same picture taken in Germany, a street scene for example, could be dull and boring for me. For a Japanese eye, however, this might look very exotic and therefore interesting. And of course it also works the other way around.

© Christoph Bauer (www.facebook.com/soapsheep)

© Christoph Bauer (www.facebook.com/soapsheep)

So what’s the gist of all that rambling you may ask :)? I guess it means that of course we always – as photographers – have to strive for that unusual, unconventional, “foreign”, if you will, element in our images that makes it stand out, but we may have it a tad easier to appeal to people not living in our direct neighbourhood.

Please let me know what you think. Maybe I’m just stating the obvious here… Fire away :).

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